Presentation Title

The Relationship Between Cognitive Decline, Inhibition and Anxiety

Start Date

30-3-2021 9:35 AM

End Date

30-3-2021 9:41 AM

Abstract

Research studies have identified links between lower inhibitory attentional control and anxiety vulnerability. This is in accordance with the Attentional Control Theory, which suggests that stimulus-driven attentional mechanisms take over when high anxiety is exhibited.

We aim to examine how cognitive function and anxiety are correlated by investigating inhibitory control in older and younger adults with differing cognitive abilities and anxiety levels. We will recruit 30 younger (18-25 years of age) and 30 older adults (65 years of age or older) from Canada. Participants will complete three questionnaires; a Demographics questionnaire, the short version of the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) to control for depression, and the short version of the Stait-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Attentional control is tested using the Go/No-Go paradigm and the Posner Cueing task. Both tasks include threatening animal images. Working memory is tested using a memory task that requires remembering a word list followed by a recognition task.

We hypothesize that highly anxious participants will show more errors in inhibition and working memory tasks than less anxious participants. Second, we hypothesize that highly anxious participants will show more inhibition errors in threat conditions compared with less anxious participants. Finally, we predict that the older adults will show weaker performance on all the tasks than younger participants, due to lower cognitive functioning. Anxiety’s effects on cognitive functions have clinical implications because today’s cognitive assessments might induce anxiety, thus leading to a possible misdiagnosis. Therefore, understanding the relationship between anxiety and cognition can help prevent misdiagnoses as well as improve identification of normal cognitive aging.

Department

Psychology

Faculty Advisor

Claudia Gonzalez

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Mar 30th, 9:35 AM Mar 30th, 9:41 AM

The Relationship Between Cognitive Decline, Inhibition and Anxiety

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Research studies have identified links between lower inhibitory attentional control and anxiety vulnerability. This is in accordance with the Attentional Control Theory, which suggests that stimulus-driven attentional mechanisms take over when high anxiety is exhibited.

We aim to examine how cognitive function and anxiety are correlated by investigating inhibitory control in older and younger adults with differing cognitive abilities and anxiety levels. We will recruit 30 younger (18-25 years of age) and 30 older adults (65 years of age or older) from Canada. Participants will complete three questionnaires; a Demographics questionnaire, the short version of the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) to control for depression, and the short version of the Stait-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Attentional control is tested using the Go/No-Go paradigm and the Posner Cueing task. Both tasks include threatening animal images. Working memory is tested using a memory task that requires remembering a word list followed by a recognition task.

We hypothesize that highly anxious participants will show more errors in inhibition and working memory tasks than less anxious participants. Second, we hypothesize that highly anxious participants will show more inhibition errors in threat conditions compared with less anxious participants. Finally, we predict that the older adults will show weaker performance on all the tasks than younger participants, due to lower cognitive functioning. Anxiety’s effects on cognitive functions have clinical implications because today’s cognitive assessments might induce anxiety, thus leading to a possible misdiagnosis. Therefore, understanding the relationship between anxiety and cognition can help prevent misdiagnoses as well as improve identification of normal cognitive aging.