Test-anxiety, inferential reasoning and working memory load

Anne Richards, Christopher C. French, Edmund Keogh, Corrin Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (SciVal)


Subjects high and low in test-anxiety were presented with an inferential reasoning task requiring the verification of necessary and unnecessary inferences. The task was performed whilst holding either two or six digits in memory. On the verification task, the performance of high-test-anxious subjects was slower and less accurate than that of the low-test-anxious subjects. In addition, unnecessary inferences took longer to process than necessary inferences for the high-test-anxiety group only. The high-test-anxious subjects studied the memory loads for longer than the low-test-anxious group, but their recognition accuracy did not differ. Findings support Eysenck and Calvo's (Cognition and Emotion, 6, 409-434, 1992) processing efficiency theory. The high-test-anxious group's performance on the sentence verification task was impaired overall, and was particularly impaired when performing the unnecessary inference task. However, we also demonstrated that the high-test-anxious group's performance on a secondary memory task was unimpaired as a result of increased effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-109
Number of pages23
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Inferential reasoning
  • Test-anxiety
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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