Trait anxiety focuses spatial attention.

Caparos, Serge and Linnell, Karina J. 2012. Trait anxiety focuses spatial attention. Emotion, 12(1), pp. 8-12. ISSN 1528-3542 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Some findings suggest that trait anxiety impairs selective attention (e.g., Fox, 1993) while others suggest the opposite (e.g., Murray & Janelle, 2003). Both views may hold some truth if trait anxiety affects different levels of selective attention in opposite directions: trait anxiety might improve spatial attention, or perceptual selection, but weaken postperceptual selection. We used an adaptation of the flanker task (Eriksen & Hoffman, 1973) which distinguishes between spatial attention and postperceptual selection (Caparos & Linnell, 2010) to test this hypothesis. Trait anxiety was found to improve spatial attention but not to affect post-perceptual selection. The latter null effect may have resulted from the relatively high perceptual load used in this study. The focusing effect of trait anxiety suggests that anxiety reduces perceptual resources or increases cognitive engagement.

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February 2012Published

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29 Apr 2024 09:51

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29 Apr 2024 09:51

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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