Children's task performance under stress and non-stress conditions: A test of the processing efficiency theory

Ee Lynn NG, Kerry LEE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of test anxiety on children's task performance are not well understood. We examined this issue using the processing efficiency theory (PET; Eysenck & Calvo, 1992) as a theoretical framework. High and low trait test-anxious children (N=90) performed a mental-arithmetic task under high and low memory load conditions. Each child performed the task under stressful and non-stressful conditions. Measures of task accuracy and reaction time served as indicators of performance effectiveness and processing efficiency, respectively. Consistent with the PET, processing efficiency, but not performance effectiveness, was detrimentally affected by test anxiety. However, we did not find support for the PET's assumption that state anxiety mediates the test anxiety-task performance relationship. The roles of task demands on working memory (WM) capacity and individual differences in WM capacity as moderators of the relationship between test anxiety and task performance is also discussed. Copyright © 2009 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1238
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume24
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Citation

Ng, E., & Lee, K. (2010). Children's task performance under stress and non-stress conditions: A test of the processing efficiency theory. Cognition and Emotion, 24(7), 1229-1238. doi: 10.1080/02699930903172328

Keywords

  • Attentional control
  • Working memory
  • Test anxiety
  • State anxiety
  • Mathematics achievement

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