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The influence of anxiety direction on processing bias

Eubank, Martin and Collins, David J. and Smith, Nickolas C. (2000) The influence of anxiety direction on processing bias. Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 22 (4). pp. 292-306. ISSN 1543-2904

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Abstract

In the presence of anxiety, threatening stimuli are allocated greater processing priority by high-trait-anxious individuals (Mathews, 1993). As anxiety direction (Jones, 1995) might best account for individual differences, this investigation aimed to establish whether or not such processing priority is a function of anxiety interpretation. Anxiety facilitators and debilitators performed a modified Stroop test (Stroop, 1935) by reacting to neutral, positive, and negative word types in neutral, positive, and negative mood conditions. A significant 3-way interaction, F(4,80) = 3.95, p < .05, was evident, with facilitators exhibiting a processing bias toward positive words in positive mood conditions. The data support the contention that anxiety interpretation is an important distinguishing variable in accounting for processing bias and support the potential contribution of cognitive restructuring practices to athletic per- formance.

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