Interaction of anxiety with performance on two levels of task difficulty

Robert D. Tennyson, F. Ross Woolley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Divided a self-instructional concept acquisition program into difficult and easy sections based on empirically determined probability ratings of positive and negative instances. The prediction of a disordinal interaction was tested using measured anxiety levels as 1 effect and task difficulty levels as the other effect. Anxiety was measured by the state-trait anxiety inventory (stai) and blood pressure. The scores for anxiety on the stai a-state scale increased significantly for 29 undergraduates during the difficult task and decreased with the easy task (p < .01). When the difficult and the easy task were compared, a disordinal interaction resulted: the relative mean error performance of the high and low a-state ss was reversed (p < .05). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-467
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1971


  • concept acquisition, task difficulty &
  • interaction of anxiety &
  • performance


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