Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
James H. Geer
In the first study of this report empirically-derived cognitive networks were established for high trait test anxious participants ( n = 28) and low trait test anxious participants (n = 25) during periods of both high and low exam stress. Cognitive networks were created using the Pathfinder algorithm, which transforms pair-wise word similarity ratings into an associative network. Information included in the networks pertained to the following word categories: testing situations, positive performance evaluation, and negative performance evaluation. Contrary to predictions, there was no effect of either trait or state test anxiety on semantic network organization. These findings fail to support the associative network theory of anxiety and suggest the need for development of alternative explanations for biased cognitive processing associated with anxiety. Study number two investigated the validity of the Pathfinder algorithm by examining the relationship between Pathfinder-generated network organization and free-recall order, which represents a measure of organization of information in memory. Correlations were conducted for both high trait test anxious participants (n = 21) and low trait test anxious participants (n = 23). Findings only partially supported the validity of Pathfinder. Implications of these findings for use of Pathfinder in future research and clinical assessment are discussed.
Diefenbach, Gretchen Joan, "The Role of Trait and State Anxiety in Semantic Network Organization of Information Related to Current Concerns." (1999). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6986.