The association between anxiety and working memory and the effects on skill acquisition and transfer

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


It has been widely reported that people experiencing high levels of anxiety have a tendency to engage in worry, or interfering thoughts that impact on working memory resources resulting in performance deficits cognitive tasks. Furthemore, skill acquisition theories propose that working memory plays an important role in attentional processes during the initial stages of learning. The study investigates the suggestion that if anxiety related performance deficits are associated with intrusive, off task thoughts that restrict working memory capacity, then anxiety may also adversely affect skill acquisition and transfer.

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