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When Students Fail: Neurocognitive Mechanisms Underlying Test Anxiety

dc.contributor.advisorGrabner, Roland Prof. Dr.
dc.contributor.authorSchillinger, Frieder L. Dipl.-Psych.
dc.titleWhen Students Fail: Neurocognitive Mechanisms Underlying Test Anxietyde
dc.contributor.refereeGrabner, Roland Prof. Dr.
dc.description.abstractengTest anxiety can hinder students from achieving their full potential in evaluative situations, such as tests or examinations. Converging evidence suggests that performance-related worries impair the working memory of these students. However, the mechanisms by which worries affect the working memory of test-anxious students remain poorly understood. The present work aimed to fill this gap by comparing the electroencephalography (EEG) of lower and higher test-anxious students performing a cognitive task in both a low and a high pressure condition. Two studies addressed the response monitoring in test-anxious students by analyzing the error-related negativity (ERN) – an event-related potential occurring shortly after an erroneous response. Results revealed that the ERN was enhanced by performance pressure in higher but not in lower test-anxious students. The third study assessed the working memory costs of performance pressure by analyzing frontal midline theta (FMΘ) – a signal known to reflect working memory processes. Results showed that FMΘ was increased by performance pressure, especially in students with higher test anxiety. Across studies, self-reported worries during the task were unrelated to EEG measures and test-anxious students did not show performance impairments. Taken together, results demonstrate that test-anxious students exhibit increased neural activity under performance pressure, suggesting that they need compensatory effort to maintain performance in evaluative
dc.contributor.coRefereeDe Smedt, Bert Prof. Dr.
dc.contributor.thirdRefereePenke, Lars Prof. Dr.
dc.subject.engtest anxietyde
dc.subject.engerror-related negativity (ERN)de
dc.subject.engfrontal midline theta (FMΘ)de
dc.affiliation.instituteBiologische Fakultät für Biologie und Psychologiede
dc.subject.gokfullPsychologie (PPN619868627)de

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