The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

The Influence of Anxiety on Attention and Short-Term Memory


Kaitlin Ferris


Previous research has shown that anxious individuals have impaired performance on cognitive tasks. However, other research has demonstrated that an attentional bias can improve anxious individuals' performance if task requires attention to be directed toward threat-related stimuli. The present study examines the effects of anxiety level on attention and short term memory. Fourty participants, of either high or low anxiety received either a threat-related word list or a neutral word list to remember. Following a distraction task, participants recalled as many words from the list as they could. It was found that there was a significant main effect for term type (F(1,36)= 5.83, partial n = 0.14), as well as a significant term by anxiety interaction effect (F(l,36) = 6.61, p<.05, partial n = 0.16).

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