Tackling test anxiety: a randomised controlled trial of attention bias modification training in students with test anxiety
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Who this event is for
Glasgow room, B building, Harcourt Hill Campus
Individuals with different types of anxiety, including
test anxiety, may show an attention bias towards threatening stimuli, relative
to neutral stimuli and non-anxious individuals.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests it may be possible to
reduce anxiety by targeting this attention bias using attention bias
modification training. This talk will discuss the findings of a British
Academy-funded study that investigated whether attention bias modification
training can reduce anxiety in test anxious students, and, if so, whether this
reduction in anxiety has a positive impact on examination performance.
Forty test anxious students
were randomised to one of three conditions and received either attention bias
modification training or one of two control interventions. The interventions
were delivered via computer at the students’ schools, and took approximately
two hours to complete. Participants completed measures of test anxiety and
attention bias before and after completing the intervention. GCSE mock exam
grades were collected before the intervention, and actual GCSE results were
collected in August.
Self-reported test anxiety was significantly lower in
all three conditions following intervention. Attention bias away from threat
increased for students in the treatment condition, although changes in
attention bias were not statistically significant. Analysis of the impact of
the training on GCSE performance is still ongoing, but early evidence suggests
that attention bias modification represents a possible treatment for test