Monday, March 19, 2018
Anxiety Might Help Your Memory, Claims Study
2/28/2018 9:01:07 PM
Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor

Toronto, Canada (4E) - Oddly, anxiety can help people remember things, according to a study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

A study involving 80 undergraduate students (64 females) found that manageable levels of anxiety actually aided people in being able to recall the details of events. It also found that when anxiety levels got too high or descended into fear, it could lead to people beginning to associate otherwise neutral elements of an experience to the negative context.

"People with high anxiety have to be careful," said co-author Myra Fernandes, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo.

"To some degree, there is an optimal level of anxiety that is going to benefit your memory, but we know from other research that high levels of anxiety can cause people to reach a tipping point, which impacts their memories and performance."

The study saw 80 undergraduate students complete the experiment. Half the participants were randomly assigned to a deep encoding instruction group while the other half were randomly assigned to a shallow encoding group. All participants completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales.

It was discovered that individuals high in anxiety showed a heightened sensitivity to the influences of emotional context on their memory. Their neutral information becoming tainted, or colored by the emotion with which it was associated during encoding

"By thinking about emotional events or by thinking about negative events this might put you in a negative mindset that can bias you or change the way you perceive your current environment," said Christopher Lee, a psychology Ph. D. candidate at Waterloo.

"So, I think for the general public, it is important to be aware of what biases you might bring to the table or what particular mindset you might be viewing the world in and how that might ultimately shape what we walk away seeing."

Fernandes also said that it's important for educators to be mindful there could be individual factors that influence the retention of the material they are teaching, and that lightening the mood when teaching might be beneficial.

Article © - All Rights Reserved. Provided by FeedSyndicate
Courtesy: FeedSyndicate