The relative encoding of affective and nonaffective content information in high and low trait anxious individuals was investigated. Experiment 1 (N = 35) found that, compared to Low Anxiety participants, High Anxiety participants showed relatively greater speeding of affective semantic decisions compared to nonaffective content semantic decisions. Using a similarity rating paradigm, Experiments 2 (N = 51) and 3 (N = 100) found higher levels of trait anxiety were associated with a decreased use of content information when nonaffective information was less salient than affective information. Experiment 4 (N = 100) found higher levels of trait anxiety were associated with a complementary increased use of affective information when affective information was less salient than nonaffective information. Thus, it appears that trait anxiety may be associated with a bias to encode less salient information to a greater extent when it is relevant to affect, and to a lesser extent when it is not.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)