Essay Study of Anxiety and Automation

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Automation`s implications on anxiety`s effects in solving complicated tasks

Abstract The study of anxiety and automation took a great extent in the twentieth century giving basis to different theories and opinions. Current study is based on differences between anxious and non- anxious subjects on their performance in solving simple and complex tasks before and after a learning phase and automation. Current study wants to draw attention to the fact that automation diminishes the impact of anxiety on performance, especially in solving complex tasks by reducing the level of attention and the depth of conscious processing and by avoiding the sub activation of the units in the working memory involved in complex tasks.
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Detrimental effects appear for worry “empties” some of the working memory system`s resources, especially those in the executive functioning spectrum, like attention. Positive effects appear for worry serves as a motivational factor. Performance in any task is affected by extreme levels of state anxiety. This is also stated in the Yerkes & Dodson law (1908), which says that the optimal level of arousal is lower for complex tasks than for simple ones. Similarly, this observation is confirmed by studies as those conducted by Eysenck (1982), or Mayer, who also articulate that anxiety has little effect on performance in simple problems, but it reduces the performance in complex cognitive tasks. As Yerkes & Dodson has failed to explain the mechanisms that are affected by anxiety, a wave of new theories in this regard can be noticed such as Sarson`s cognitive interference theory (1988) or Spielberg & co (1978) who alleged that worry and performance evaluation affect task performance. Since worry interferes with the level of attention employed in a task, it is assumed that anxiety has a greater impact on tasks that require more attention, namely complex tasks. Another theory is that of processing efficiency which says that the difficulty of the task is not given only by the amount of attention resources required, but so as to working and long-term memory involved, characteristic that I am also trying to highlight in the present

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