OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Effects of Anxiety on Attention and Cognitive Performance


The present research aimed to evaluate cognitive performance in anxious individuals, using Attentional Control theory, anxiety was predicted to interact with performance in cognitive task. The ACT states that high anxious individuals are depleted on working memory resources, which can account for inconsistent findings on these individuals performing better in cognitive tasks compared to their counter parts. We hypothesized low anxious individuals to be more efficient in allocating resources, having higher accuracy and shorter reaction times. Sustained Attention to Respond (SART) was utilized to determine cognitive performance after ego depletion, giving reaction time (RT) in milliseconds and accuracy for Go and No-go trails. Participants took the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) prior to all measurements. Results showed high anxious individuals to have longer RTs and lower ACC. Efficiency coefficients were driven 85 5th Annual Student Research Symposium Meeting of the Minds Event Program by RT. Accuracy was consistently better for low anxiety group than for high anxiety group across bins; when combined with RT, efficiency increased for low state anxiety where efficiency for the high state anxiety group decreased. High anxiety group showed the fatigue effect, their reaction time increased for high anxiety group is caused by the fatigue effect. The low anxiety group efficiency showed better efficiency due to practice effect. Working memory moderated the effect between anxiety and efficiency, showing that low working memory performed with less efficiency with high state anxiety. High state anxious and high working memory participants performed with the same amount of efficiency as the low anxious groups

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