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The effect of priming an anxious mood state on attentional capture

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Description: Research has shown that same color distracters capture attention in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task while different color distracters do not (C. Folk, A. Leber, & H. Egeth, 2008), though the effect has not been measured in different environmental conditions. A. Pancheco-Unguetti, A. Acosta, A. Callejas, and J. Lupiañez, (2010) have shown that higher levels of state anxiety can result in decrements in spatial attention. The current study attempted to bridge the gaps in the literature by manipulating state anxiety and measuring the effect on attentional capture using a temporal measure of attention, i.e. an RSVP task. Counter to the investigator's hypothesis, heightened state anxiety did not result in both same and different color distracters capturing attention. However, the high state anxiety group showed less attentional capture than did the low state anxiety group in the same color condition. These results were interpreted in light of the "Easterbrook Hypothesis" which states that irrelevant stimuli are more likely to be ignored under conditions of heightened stress (J. Easterbrook, 1959).
Language: English
Format: Degree Work