The temporal relationship between anxiety and cognitive bias was examined in 52 college freshmen taking a first-quarter exam. Anxiety and cognitive bias were measured 1 week before the exam (Time 1), immediately after the exam (Time 2), and after grades were posted (Time 3). Changes in anxiety were associated with changes in cognitive bias by Times 2 and 3. Specifically, changes in anxiety were associated positively with changes in risk perception at Time 2 and positively with changes in threatening interpretations of ambiguous information at Time 3. Cognitive bias at Time 1 did not predict anxiety by Time 2 or 3, controlling for initial anxiety. However, when the perceived difficulty of the exam was taken into account, it appeared to moderate the relationship between cognitive bias at Time 1 and later anxiety. That is, among those who perceived the exam to be easy, greater cognitive bias at Time 1 predicted greater anxiety by Time 2. Among those who predicted the exam to be difficult, greater cognitive bias at Time 1 predicted less anxiety by Time 2.
- Cognitive bias
- Risk perception
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology