alexa Processing and performance.


Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

Author(s): Eysenck MJ

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Anxiety often impairs performance of “difficult” tasks (especially under test conditions), but there are numerous exceptions. Theories of anxiety and performance need to address at least two major issues: (1) the complexity and apparent inconsistency of the findings; and (2) the conceptual definition of task difficulty. Some theorists (e.g. Humphreys & Revelle, 1984; Sarason, 1988) argue that anxiety causes worry, and worry always impairs performance on tasks with high attentional or short-term memory demands. According to the processing efficiency theory, worry has two main effects: (1) a reduction in the storage and processing capacity of the working memory system available for a concurrent task; and (2) an increment in on-task effort and activities designed to improve performance. There is a crucial distinction within the theory between performance effectiveness (= quality of performance) and processing efficiency (= performance effectiveness divided by effort). Anxiety characteristically impairs efficiency more than effectiveness.

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This article was published in Cognition and Emotion and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

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