Identifier

etd-07082013-131811

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Anxiety is a common human experience which has been shown to have detrimental effects on cognitive abilities, particularly the executive abilities of inhibition, shifting and updating. Previous studies in this area have been highly specific in their focus, leaving gaps in the literature. As a result, the general nature of anxiety’s effect on executive functioning has yet to be fully defined. The current study attempted to establish such a definition by exploring the effects of state anxiety and trait anxiety on each of the executive functions, both in terms of task performance and efficiency. In addition, because working memory has been shown to be closely related to higher order cognitive abilities such as general fluid intelligence (Shelton, Elliott, Matthews, Hill, & Gouvier, 2010), the influence of working memory capacity (WMC) was also explored. In the current study, it was found that the manipulation designed to increase or decrease state anxiety was ineffective. Additionally, no effects of trait anxiety or WMC were found for any of the executive function tasks, either in terms of accuracy or reaction time (RT). Implications and future directions are discussed.

Date

2013

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Elliott, Emily

Included in

Psychology Commons

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