Effects of state anxiety on selective processing of threatening information

Edith Chen*, Michael R. Lewin, Michelle G. Craske

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The conceptualisation of Stroop interference as a state versus stable quality was examined in 23 spider-fearful and 23 control subjects. Stroop colour-naming response latencies were examined after an anxiety-provoking (approach) condition and a neutral condition. Spider-fearful subjects showed increased response times to spider versus neutral words across conditions, as well as increased response times to spider words in the approach condition as compared to the neutral condition. These results suggest that increases in state anxiety enhance an existing interference effect for threatening information in highly fearful individuals. Similar results were also found for positive words, suggesting an emotionality effect during heightened state anxiety. Finally, cognitive avoidance was found to influence Stroop interference under state anxiety conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of state anxiety on selective processing of threatening information'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this