Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anxiety-Prone People Find Distractions Hard to Ignore

(HealthDay News) -- Anxious people have more difficulty tuning out distractions and require more time to shift their attention from one task to another, a new study from British researchers has found.

The study included volunteers who took part in several experiments designed to assess the effects of anxiety on their ability to perform such tasks as avoiding distractions when reading a story or solving a series of simple math problems.

In one test, participants were told to read a story on a computer screen, and their eye movements were recorded as they read. The story included a few unrelated "distracter" words, and the researchers found that anxious people took longer to read the story because they tended to dwell on the irrelevant words, especially when they believed they would be evaluated on their reading comprehension.

In a different experiment, volunteers alternated between multiplication and division problems. Anxious participants took longer to complete the task, the study found. Read more...

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