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, 24 (2), 201-16

The Effects of Physiological Arousal on Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance Among Individuals With High and Low Anxiety Sensitivity

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The Effects of Physiological Arousal on Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance Among Individuals With High and Low Anxiety Sensitivity

Kirsten E Barnard et al. Anxiety Stress Coping.

Abstract

Information-processing models of anxiety posit that anxiety pathology is associated with processing biases that consume cognitive resources and may detract from one's ability to process environmental stimuli. Previous research has consistently indicated that high anxiety has a negative impact on cognitive and psychomotor performance. Anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of anxiety and anxiety-related arousal sensations, is an anxiety vulnerability factor that has been shown to play a role in the development and maintenance of panic attacks and panic disorder. However, relatively little is known regarding the potential impact of anxiety sensitivity on performance. In the present study, 105 college students who scored either high (≥ 24) or low (≤ 14) on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index were randomly assigned to complete a series of arousal-induction tasks or no activity, followed immediately by three cognitive and psychomotor performance tasks: digit span - backward, math fluency, and grooved pegboard. Results indicated that participants with high anxiety sensitivity performed comparably to individuals with low anxiety sensitivity on each task, regardless of arousal level.

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