Smith, Christopher (2018) Examining the Relationship between Working Memory, Trait Anxiety and Complex Decision Making in University Students. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The current research aims to contribute to the literature by examining the previously untested relationship of individual differences in working memory, trait anxiety and Iowa gambling task performance in healthy adults. Previous research has found working memory negatively relates to trait anxiety, and that trait anxiety has been positively and negatively related to Iowa gambling task performance, yet working memory and Iowa gambling task performance are often positively related to one another. In order to explore this uncertain relationship the current experiment hypothesised that trait anxiety and working memory would correlate with Iowa gambling task performance, and would combine to explain additional variance of Iowa gambling task performance. Two complex span measures of working memory were used to examine general domain working memory; operation span and symmetry span. Anxiety was measured using the trait component of the state-trait anxiety inventory. 64 students M=20.69, SD=2.57 completed each measure in the current experiment. A multiple regression analysis was used to examine the correlation between measures of working memory, anxiety, and complex decision making, the experiment found no relationship between any of the variables. The results are discussed in relation to the attentional control theory, the somatic marker hypothesis, the fuzzy trace theory, and tripartite theory. It concludes by arguing that working memory and trait anxiety are related to Iowa gambling task performance but in a nonlinear way, and postulating the need for more comprehensive research that reflects the multifaceted demands of Iowa gambling task performance.

SMITH, CHRISTOPHER Final thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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