Experimentally induced and real-world anxiety have no demonstrable effect on goal-directed behaviour

Gillan, C. M., Vaghi, M. M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0999-9055, Hezemans, F. H., van Ghesel Grothe, S., Dafflon, J., Brühl, A. B., Savulich, G. and Robbins, T. W. (2021) Experimentally induced and real-world anxiety have no demonstrable effect on goal-directed behaviour. Psychological Medicine, 51 (9). pp. 1467-1478. ISSN 0033-2917

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Background: Goal-directed control guides optimal decision-making and it is an important cognitive faculty that protects against developing habits. Previous studies have found some evidence of goal-directed deficits when healthy individuals are stressed, and in psychiatric conditions characterised by compulsive behaviours and anxiety. Here, we tested if goal-directed control is affected by state anxiety, which might explain the former results. Methods: We carried out a causal test of this hypothesis in two experiments (between-subject N = 88; within-subject N = 50) that used the inhalation of hypercapnic gas (7.5% CO2) to induce an acute state of anxiety in healthy volunteers. In a third experiment (N = 1413), we used a correlational design to test if real-life anxiety-provoking events (panic attacks, stressful events) are associated with impaired goal-directed control. Results: In the former two causal experiments, we induced a profoundly anxious state, both physiologically and psychologically, but this did not affect goal-directed performance. In the third, correlational, study, we found no evidence for an association between goal-directed control, panic attacks or stressful life events over and above variance accounted for by trait differences in compulsivity. Conclusions: In sum, three complementary experiments found no evidence that anxiety impairs goal-directed control in human subjects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2022 16:30
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 02:39
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/88841
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291720000203


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