The Effect of Trait Anxiety and Induced Anxiety on the Updating of Working Memory Function

Document Type: Original Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology, School of Literature and Humanities, Lorestan University, Khoramabad, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Educational and Psychology, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Educational and Psychology, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran


Background & Aims:The aim of the present study was to use a psychological model to explain the effect of trait anxiety and induced anxiety on individual’s performance in updating function of working memory. This study was also designed to test attentional control theory of Eysenck et al.
Methods: Throngh Multistage Cluster sampling method, 330 freshman university students were asked to complete the trait part of Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventor. After scoring, 24 subjects from the upper 25 percent of distribution were selected as high trait anxiety group, and 24 subjects from the lower 25 percent of distribution were selected as low trait anxiety group.Then, the subjects were tested in normal and induced anxiety conditions. The performance in updating function was investigated with both of processing efficacy and performance effectiveness. Data were analyzed using mixed repeated measures, modified bone ferreni post hoc test and independent t- test.
Results: The results showed the effect of trait anxiety on processing efficacy in updating function of working memory. Also, in addition to processing efficacy, performance effectiveness was impaired in the induced anxiety condition.
Conclusion: The results provided support for attentional control theory of Eysenck et al; That is, the high trait anxiety group increased their effort in order to maintain levels of performance. The high trait anxiety group, in addition to increasing mental effort, had lower cognitive function in the induced anxiety condition.


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