The effect of trait anxiety and mood manipulation on the breadth of attention

Edmund Keogh, Christopher C. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


Eysenck (1992) predicts that among trait-anxious individuals high levels of state anxiety broaden the attentional beam in order to facilitate the detection of threat. An experiment was therefore conducted to investigate the interactive role of trait anxiety and mood manipulation on attentional broadening. Target material varying in threat-relatedness and concern-relevance was presented to participants' central ( parafoveal) and peripheral visual field. Whilst a mood manipulation was associated with a broadening of the attentional beam, it occurred irrespective of trait anxiety. However, differences in the processing of target material were determined by an interaction between trait anxiety and the mood manipulation. Specifically, when placed in an anxiety-provoking mood manipulation, those high in anxiety increased in their vigilance for concern-relevant threatening material. These results are discussed in light of Eysenck's hypervigilance theory of anxiety and attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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