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The role of effort in influencing the effect of anxiety on performance : testing the conflicting predictions of processing efficiency theory and the conscious processing hypothesis

Wilson, Mark and Smith, Nickolas C. and Holmes, Paul S. (2006) The role of effort in influencing the effect of anxiety on performance : testing the conflicting predictions of processing efficiency theory and the conscious processing hypothesis. ISSN 0007-1269

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to test the conflicting predictions of processing efficiency theory (PET) and the conscious processing hypothesis (CPH) regarding effort’s role in influencing the effects of anxiety on a golf putting task. Mid-handicap golfers made a series of putts to target holes under two counterbalanced conditions designed to manipulate the level of anxiety experienced. The effort exerted on each putting task was assessed though self-report, psychophysiological (heart rate variability) and behavioural (pre-putt time and glances at the target) measures. Performance was assessed by putting error. Results were generally more supportive of the predictions of PETrather than the CPH as performance was maintained for some performers despite increased state anxiety and a reduction in processing efficiency. The findings of this study support previous research suggesting that both theories offer useful theoretical frameworks for examining the relationship between anxiety and performance in sport.

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