Category: Adult Anxiety

PS15- #B40 - Anticipatory Processing Mediates Cognitive Impairments in Anxiety Regardless of Feedback Context

Sunday, Nov 19
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Anxiety | Cognitive Processes | Psychophysiology

Considerable research has found that anxiety is associated with cognitive impairments. However, less research has focused on cognitive mechanisms leading to this impairment. The attentional control theory suggests that anxiety related cognitive activity reduces available cognitive resources, leading to attentional deficits. Anticipatory processing is a specific form of negative thought that occurs in anxiety and may place cognitive demands impacting attention to task relevant information. The current study examined the potential mediating role of anticipatory processing in the relationship between trait anxiety and attention to task performance feedback stimuli. The Late Positive Potential (LPP) is a measure of brain activity that assesses the amount of cognitive resources devoted towards processing visual stimuli and was used to index attentional processing for both correct and incorrect feedback stimuli. In the current study, participants completed the Anticipatory Social Behavior Questionnaire (ASBQ; Hinrichsen & Clark, 2003), the State Trait Anxiety Scale (Spielberger, et al., 1983), and a trial-and-learning task, in which faces (neutral vs. happy) were presented to provide performance feedback on whether they chose the correct or incorrect response. The LPP was measured during the viewing of the feedback. Two mediation analyses assessed whether anticipatory processing mediated the relationship between trait anxiety and LPP amplitude for both correct and incorrect feedback conditions. Results indicated that trait anxiety was a significant predictor for anticipatory processing for the correct (b = .337, SE = .091, p < .001) and incorrect feedback (b = .337, SE = .091, p < .001). Anticipatory processing was a significant predictor for LPP amplitude for the correct (b = 1.586, SE = .543, p = .005) and incorrect condition (b = -1.923, SE = .88, p = .034). These results support the mediation hypothesis. The indirect effects were calculated using bootstrap methodology and found that the indirect coefficient was significant for correct (b = -.534, SE = .241, CI = -1.04 to -.09) and incorrect condition (b = -.648, SE = .361, CI = -1.55 to -.11) feedback. Results suggest anticipatory social processing is a mechanism for the relationship between anxiety and attention to threat related information.  In addition, it did not make a difference whether the feedback was correct or incorrect. This implies that anticipatory social processing may be associated with avoidance of performance related feedback generally, regardless of the content of the feedback. These findings support theoretical models of anxiety and provide evidence that anticipatory social processing may be an important factor in understanding cognitive consequence of anxiety.

Jacob D. Kraft

Graduate Student
Oklahoma State University

Evan J. White

Graduate Student
Oklahoma State University
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Kristen E. Frosio

Graduate Student Researcher
Oklahoma State University
Stilwater, Oklahoma

Danielle L. Taylor

Oklahoma State University

Adam C. Mills

Clinical Psychology Predoctoral Intern
Nebraska Medicine in Omaha
Charleston, South Carolina

Matt R. Judah

Old Dominion University

DeMond M. Grant

Oklahoma State University