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Anxiety impairs inhibitory control but not volitional action control 

Ansari, T.L. and Derakhshan, Nazanin (2010) Anxiety impairs inhibitory control but not volitional action control. Cognition and Emotion 24 (2), pp. 241-254. ISSN 0269-9931.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699930903381531

Abstract

The antisaccade task requires the inhibition of a reflexive saccade toward an abrupt peripheral stimulus, and the rapid generation of a saccade to its mirror position. Accumulating evidence (see Derakshan & Eysenck, 2009) indicates that anxiety results in longer antisaccade latencies, supporting the prediction that anxiety impairs inhibition and efficient top-down attention regulation. However, any observed variance in antisaccade performance permits interpretations of inhibition and saccade generation, questioning direct inferences about these processes in isolation. The current study used a “delayed” antisaccade task where participants were instructed to maintain central fixation despite the onset of the abrupt stimulus and only generate an antisaccade upon hearing a tone. Here, impaired performance reflects a weakness in volitional saccade generation as the simultaneous need to inhibit is eliminated by the delay. High-anxious individuals exhibited comparable antisaccade latencies to low-anxious ones when the delay was introduced suggesting that longer antisaccade latencies previously observed in the high anxious cannot be attributed to impairments in volitional saccade generation, i.e., action control. The findings suggest that anxiety affects inhibition but not volitional action generation.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Anxiety, antisaccade, inhibition, Saccade generation
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 08:45
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2364

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