The effects of cognitive load on performance and anxiety reduction in a social phobia sample.

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According to a 1995 study by Leary and Kowalski, social anxiety is believed to be characterized by a heightened sense of self-awareness during social interactions. This study hypothesized that including a distraction task during a social situation would interfere with these highly automatized cognitive processes, and thereby facilitate social performance and fear reduction. The procedures used in the current study are replicated from the 2000 study conducted by Pontari and Schlenker where they found that increasing introverts' cognitive load during a mock interview improved participants' effectiveness at playing an extraverted role, increased their memory of the event, and decreased their overall self-consciousness, as compared to when they were not distracted.;Participants in the current study engaged in three mock job interviews and rated their social performance, recall of the interview, self-efficacy, self-focus of attention, and symptoms of anxiety. Twenty-eight participants were included in the cognitive-busyness condition and twenty-seven participants were included in the exposure-only condition. The main analyses for the study found that participants in the cognitive-load condition were not significantly different from the exposure-only condition in their self-reported performance or recall ability during the "mock" job interview, therefore indicating that the results of the Pontari and Schlenker study were not replicated. Additionally, it was found that participants in the cognitive-load condition were not significantly different from the exposure-only condition in their anxiety ratings after the first interview or in their anxiety ratings over all three interviews. Since no relationships were found between condition and self-reported performance, recall, or symptoms of anxiety, the mediation analyses examining the role of self-efficacy and self-focus of attention on these relationships were moot. Overall, this study did not support the hypotheses that distraction enhances performance or facilitates exposure therapy. Additionally, because distraction was not found to enhance exposure treatment, the prediction that distraction is beneficial for exposure therapy due to a decrease in self-focus of attention, as opposed to an increase in self-efficacy, could not be meaningfully examined. Limitations to the study, including methodological issues and eligibility, are also reviewed.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940043542687
  • Publisher: ProQuest LLC
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eTextbook
  • Pages: 136

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