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Associations between perceived stress and attention: Endogenous and exogenous task performance
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The relationship between stress and attention has not been adequately studied. Whether stress enhances or impairs attention and the mechanism by which stress affects attention is the subject of much debate – does stress impair attention? To test the hypothesis that high stress impairs attention, especially in an endogenous attention task, 126 college students were recruited to participate in two studies relating to stress and attention. Participants completed the Perceived Stress Scale and performed either an endogenous attention or exogenous attention modified cueing task. Stress scores were used to categorize participants into stress groups and accuracy was compared to each group per study type. No significant results were found between stress and accuracy on either endogenous or exogenous attention. The results suggest that stress may not affect attention at all. The significance of this result is that stress may not affect performance in high-stress situations. However, limitations with our study may have reduced our ability to detect the true relationship.