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Effect of attention control on sustained attention during induced anxiety

Grillon, C; Robinson, OJ; Mathur, A; Ernst, M; (2016) Effect of attention control on sustained attention during induced anxiety. Cognition and Emotion , 30 (4) pp. 700-712. 10.1080/02699931.2015.1024614. Green open access

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Abstract

Anxiety has wide-reaching and complex effects on cognitive performance. Although it can intrude on cognition and interfere with performance, it can also facilitate information processing and behavioural responses. In a previous study, we showed that anxiety induced by threat of shock facilitates performance on the Sustained Attention to Response Task, a vigilance test, which probes response inhibition to infrequent nogo stimuli. The present study sought to identify factors that may have contributed to such improved performance, including on- and off-task thinking (assessed with thought probes) and individual differences in attention control, as measured with the Attention Control Scale. Replicating our prior finding, we showed that shock threat significantly reduced errors of commission on the nogo trials. However, we extended this finding in demonstrating that this effect was driven by subjects with low attention control. We therefore confirm that anxiety increases inhibitory control of prepotent responses-a mechanism which is adaptive under threat-and show that this effect is greater in those who rely more upon such prepotent responding, i.e., those with low attentional control.

Type: Article
Title: Effect of attention control on sustained attention during induced anxiety
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2015.1024614
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2015.1024614
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cognition and Emotion in June 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699931.2015.1024614
Keywords: Anxiety, SART, Stress, Threat of shock, Vigilance
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1479230
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