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    Interactions of emotion and anxiety on visual working memory performance

    Berggren, N. and Curtis, H.M. and Derakhshan, Nazanin (2016) Interactions of emotion and anxiety on visual working memory performance. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , ISSN 1069-9384.

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    It is a widely observed finding that emotion and anxiety interact; highly stressed or anxious individuals show robust attentional biases towards external negative information. More generally, research has suggested that exposure to threatening stimuli, as well as the experience of acute stress, also may impair top-down attentional control and working memory. In the current study, we investigated how the influence of emotion and anxiety may interact to influence working memory performance. Participants were required to encode the orientation of four simple shapes, eight, or four shapes while filtering out four other irrelevant shapes from memory. Before memory displays, an irrelevant neutral or fearful face cue also was presented. Memory performance was found to interact with self-reported state anxiety and cue valence; on neutral cue trials, state anxiety was negatively correlated with performance. This effect was absent following a fear cue. In addition, filtering efficiency was negatively associated with state anxiety solely following a fear cue. Our findings suggest that state anxiety’s influence to visual working memory can be strongly modulated by external signals to threat. Most crucially, rather than anxious individuals having greater difficulty rejecting external threatening information, we observed that external threat may in its own right generally impair filtering efficiency in anxious individuals.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Anxiety, Emotion, Attention, Visual working memory, Individual differences, Cognition-emotion interactions
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 14:25
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:32


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