Wilson, Kyle M., Russell, Paul N. and Helton, William S. (2015) Spider Stimuli Improve Response Inhibition. Consciousness and Cognition, 33. pp. 406-413. ISSN 1053-8100

Anxiety can have positive effects on some aspects of cognition and negative effects on others. The current study investigated whether task-relevant anxiety could improve peo- ple’s ability to withhold responses in a response inhibition task. Sixty-seven university stu- dents completed a modified and an unmodified version of the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART; Robertson, Manly, Andrade, Baddeley, & Yiend, 1997) and provided subjective measures of arousal and thoughts. Anxiety appeared to improve participants’ ability to withhold responses. Further, participants’ performance was consistent with a motor response inhibition perspective rather than a mind-wandering perspective of SART commission error performance. Errors of commission were associated with response times (speed-accuracy trade-off) as opposed to task-unrelated thoughts. Task-related thoughts were associated with the speed-accuracy trade-off. Conversely task-unrelated thoughts showed an association with errors of omission, suggesting this SART metric could be an indicator of sustained attention. Further investigation of the role of thoughts in the SART is warranted.

Wilson et al. 2015 - Spider Stimuli Improve Response Inhibition_Authors post-print.pdf - Accepted Version

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