An absence of attentional bias: statistics anxiety is unique among anxieties

Chew, Peter, Swinbourne, Anne, and Dillon, Denise (2017) An absence of attentional bias: statistics anxiety is unique among anxieties. Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 13 (2). pp. 91-112.

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the role of attentional bias in statistics anxiety in two experiments. Participants were 99 (68% females) and 104 (67% females) psychology undergraduates at James Cook University, respectively. These participants had either never taken a statistics course before but will enroll in one in the future, were currently enrolled in a statistics course, or had successfully completed at least one statistics course but were not currently enrolled in a statistics course. Participants completed the emotional Stroop task and the dot probe task, the Statistical Anxiety Rating Scale, Social Desirability Scale, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Across the experiments, participants high in statistics anxiety had the same levels of attentional bias as their low-anxious counterparts, indicating an absence of attentional bias in statistics anxiety. Implications include a reconsideration of the cognitive mechanisms underlying statistics anxiety. Specifically, individuals with statistics anxiety might be interpreting danger based on the absence of safety indicators instead of the presence of danger indicators. Alternatively, another form of cognitive bias, such as an interpretation bias might underlie statistics anxiety. Future research should be conducted to compare the plausibility of these two explanations.

Item ID: 48513
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: statistics anxiety; attentional bias; emotional Stroop task; dot probe task
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ISSN: 1539-8714
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 05:22
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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