Eysenck (1992) argues that high trait-anxious subjects are more likely to show a general susceptibility to distraction in anxious mood states, especially if the distracting material resembles the task stimuli. Unfortunately there is little direct evidence that supports this view. The present experiment therefore attempted to test Eysenck's proposition by modifying a test of distractibility for letters on a letter-transformation task, as originally devised by Eysenck and Graydon (1989), to incorporate a mood manipulation. Although high trait-anxious subjects were found to be generally more impaired than controls by the mood manipulation, they did not display greater susceptibility to distraction from task-similar material. These results are discussed in relation to current theoretical models of anxiety and cognitive processing.
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