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The impact of high and low levels of state anxiety on attentional bias and implicit memory

Viner, Theresa (2012) The impact of high and low levels of state anxiety on attentional bias and implicit memory. University of West London.

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Abstract

It has been suggested that anxious individuals who show an attentional bias to threat related stimuli would also demonstrate a memory bias for the same material. However evidence is not consistent and often research has examined attentional bias and memory bias across different studies. Therefore the aim of this study is to examine attention and memory biases within one study. N=40 non-clinical anxiety sample drawn from the normal population. SAI was used to measure state anxiety and SuperLab tasks to measure attention and memory, which included images of neutral, happy and angry facial expressions. A 2x3 split plot ANOVA was used to analyse the data. Results of the attention task revealed a significant interaction between state anxiety levels and the type of face shown. Further simple effect analysis revealed that the difference was significant when shown angry faces but not when shown neutral or happy faces. The correlation analysis revealed there was a significant positive relationship between state anxiety and recall of angry faces, but not happy faces. Therefore this study shows support for an attentional and memory bias in those with higher levels of anxiety in a single study. Limitations and directions for future research will be discussed.

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