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Effects of anxiety on the antisaccade task were assessed. Performance effectiveness on this task (indexed by error rate) reflects a conflict between volitional and reflexive responses resolved by inhibitory processes (Hutton, S. B., & Ettinger, U. (2006). The antisaccade task as a research tool in psychopathology: A critical review. Psychophysiology, 43, 302-313). However, latency of the first correct saccade reflects processing efficiency (relationship between performance effectiveness and use of resources). In two experiments, high-anxious participants had longer correct antisaccade latencies than low-anxious participants and this effect was greater with threatening cues than positive or neutral ones. The high- and low-anxious groups did not differ in terms of error rate in the antisaccade task. No group differences were found in terms of latency or error rate in the prosaccade task. These results indicate that anxiety affects performance efficiency but not performance effectiveness. The findings are interpreted within the context of attentional control theory (Eysenck, M. W., Derakshan, N., Santos, R., & Calvo, M. G. (2007). Anxiety and cognitive performance: Attentional control theory. Emotion, 7 (2), 336-353).

Original publication

DOI

10.1027/1618-3169.56.1.48

Type

Journal article

Journal

Exp Psychol

Publication Date

2009

Volume

56

Pages

48 - 55

Keywords

Adult, Anxiety, Attention, Electrooculography, Female, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Reaction Time, Reflex, Saccades, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Young Adult