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The impact of cognitive load on processing efficiency and performance effectiveness in anxiety: evidence from event-related potentials and pupillary responses

The impact of cognitive load on processing efficiency and performance effectiveness in anxiety: evidence from event-related potentials and pupillary responses
The impact of cognitive load on processing efficiency and performance effectiveness in anxiety: evidence from event-related potentials and pupillary responses
Anxiety has been associated with poor attentional control, as reflected in lowered performance on experimental measures of executive attention and inhibitory control. Recent conceptualisations of anxiety propose that individuals who report elevated anxiety symptoms worry about performance and will exert greater cognitive effort to complete tasks well, particularly when cognitive demands are high. Across two experiments, we examined the effect of anxiety on task performance and across two load conditions using (1) measures of inhibitory control (behavioural reaction times and eye-movement responses) and (2) task effort with pupillary and electrocortical markers of effort (CNV) and inhibitory control (N2). Experiment 1 used an oculomotor-delayed-response task that manipulated load by increasing delay duration to create a high load, relative to a low load, condition. Experiment 2 used a Go/No-Go task and load was manipulated by decreasing the No-Go probabilities (i.e., 20% No-Go in the high load condition and 50% No-Go in the low load condition). Experiment 1 showed individuals with high (vs. low) anxiety made more antisaccade errors across load conditions, and made more effort during the high load condition, as evidenced by greater frontal CNV and increased pupillary responses. In Experiment 2, individuals with high anxiety showed increased effort (irrespective of cognitive load), as characterised by larger pupillary responses. In addition, N2 amplitudes were sensitive to load only in individuals with low anxiety. Evidence of reduced performance effectiveness and efficiency across electrophysiological, pupillary, and oculomotor systems in anxiety provides some support for neurocognitive models of frontocortical attentional dysfunction in anxiety.
0014-4819
1-13
Hepsomali, Piril
9b54e432-e0b3-4c28-b33f-f613dafeb6d9
Hadwin, Julie
a364caf0-405a-42f3-a04c-4864817393ee
Liversedge, Simon P.
3ebda3f3-d930-4f89-85d5-5654d8fe7dee
Degno, Federica
2831e7bb-0c93-4d1c-a4f3-69c0869bf299
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072
Hepsomali, Piril
9b54e432-e0b3-4c28-b33f-f613dafeb6d9
Hadwin, Julie
a364caf0-405a-42f3-a04c-4864817393ee
Liversedge, Simon P.
3ebda3f3-d930-4f89-85d5-5654d8fe7dee
Degno, Federica
2831e7bb-0c93-4d1c-a4f3-69c0869bf299
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072

Hepsomali, Piril, Hadwin, Julie, Liversedge, Simon P., Degno, Federica and Garner, Matthew (2019) The impact of cognitive load on processing efficiency and performance effectiveness in anxiety: evidence from event-related potentials and pupillary responses. Experimental Brain Research, 1-13. (doi:10.1007/s00221-018-05466-y).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anxiety has been associated with poor attentional control, as reflected in lowered performance on experimental measures of executive attention and inhibitory control. Recent conceptualisations of anxiety propose that individuals who report elevated anxiety symptoms worry about performance and will exert greater cognitive effort to complete tasks well, particularly when cognitive demands are high. Across two experiments, we examined the effect of anxiety on task performance and across two load conditions using (1) measures of inhibitory control (behavioural reaction times and eye-movement responses) and (2) task effort with pupillary and electrocortical markers of effort (CNV) and inhibitory control (N2). Experiment 1 used an oculomotor-delayed-response task that manipulated load by increasing delay duration to create a high load, relative to a low load, condition. Experiment 2 used a Go/No-Go task and load was manipulated by decreasing the No-Go probabilities (i.e., 20% No-Go in the high load condition and 50% No-Go in the low load condition). Experiment 1 showed individuals with high (vs. low) anxiety made more antisaccade errors across load conditions, and made more effort during the high load condition, as evidenced by greater frontal CNV and increased pupillary responses. In Experiment 2, individuals with high anxiety showed increased effort (irrespective of cognitive load), as characterised by larger pupillary responses. In addition, N2 amplitudes were sensitive to load only in individuals with low anxiety. Evidence of reduced performance effectiveness and efficiency across electrophysiological, pupillary, and oculomotor systems in anxiety provides some support for neurocognitive models of frontocortical attentional dysfunction in anxiety.

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efficiency effectiveness and anxiety - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 17 January 2020.
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Accepted/In Press date: 23 December 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 January 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427355
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427355
ISSN: 0014-4819
PURE UUID: c88a97af-0236-4db2-a1b0-1e1f68db19cb

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Date deposited: 14 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 16:46

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