Author(s): Derakshan N, Smyth S, Eysenck MW
Low- and high-anxious participants performed arithmetical tasks under task-switching or nontask-switching conditions. These tasks were low or high in complexity. The task on each trial was either explicitly cued or not cued. We assumed that demands on attentional control would be greater in the task-switching condition than in the nontask-switching condition, and would be greater with high-complexity tasks than with low-complexity ones. We also assumed that demands on attentional control would be greater when cues were absent rather than present. According to attentional control theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007), anxiety impairs attentional control processes required to shift attention optimally within and between tasks. We predicted that there would be greater negative effects of high state anxiety in the task-switching condition than in the nontask-switching condition. Our theoretical predictions were supported, suggesting that state anxiety reduces attentional control.