Threat Facilitates Subsequent Executive Attention During Anxious Mood Independently of Trait Anxiety.
Abstract: Dual Competition Framework (DCF) posits that mild threat facilitates
behavioral performance by influencing executive control functions and that anxiety
strengthens this effect by enhancing threat's affective significance. A key aspect of
executive control concerns the ability to inhibit one's dominant response tendencies. The
effects of threat and anxiety on executive control function ... read more(specifically, the efficiency
of response inhibition) are examined in two studies. In Study 1, participants induced to be
in an aroused anxious state demonstrated facilitated efficiency of executive control
following briefly presented stimuli that were mildly threatening (i.e., fearful faces)
relative to nonthreatening (i.e., neutral faces). No such effect occurred for participants
in an aroused happy state. In Study 2, we assessed both the effects of manipulated state
and individual differences in trait anxiety on executive control efficiency. Consistent
with Study 1, among participants with effectively induced moods, an anxious but not a
neutral state was associated with facilitated executive control efficiency following
fearful relative to neutral faces. Unexpectedly, trait anxiety did not influence executive
control efficiency on its own or in the context of threat. The findings are partially
consistent with the predictions of DCF in that state--but not trait--anxiety improved
executive function following low-level threat.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Heather Urry.
Committee: Lisa Shin, and Tracy Dennis.
Keyword: Psychology.read less