Dr Paula Miguel

Supervised by

Research interests

My research focus is on the effects of anxiety on cognitive performance. The main theory in this field is the attentional control theory (ACT) which predicts that anxiety impairs processing efficiency to a greater extent than performance effectiveness (quality of performance) by negatively affecting attentional control. Attentional control is the main task of the central executive a component of the working memory.

I have developed several studies to investigate the effects of anxiety on the central executive functions, inhibition, shifting and updating. The inhibition function involves directing attention away from task irrelevant stimulus. The shifting function involves redirecting attention within and between tasks as the task demands. The updating function involves continuous updates of the information in the working memory. The shifting and inhibition function are the ones most related with attentional control, and in accordance with the ACT the most impaired by anxiety. I have investigated this executive functions together and separately in individuals with high anxiety trait versus individuals with low anxiety trait. I have also developed a study to investigate if anxiety affects the capacity to coordinate between two tasks.

Performance outcome is known to be related with motivation, thus I also developed a different study to examine the effects of motivation on performance of high anxious individuals versus low anxious.

The research above is part of my PhD which is being supervised by Professor Michael Eysenck.

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