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Several studies have reported data bearing on the relationship between anxiety and various measures of discriminative behavior. Work by Spence and his associates (3, 4) seems uniformly to suggest that higher anxiety levels are associated with superior performance in differential eye-lid conditioning while the work of Hilgard et al (2) demonstrates impaired performance of high-anxiety Ss in the differential eyelid-conditioning situation. It must be noted that these studies involved relatively simple tasks. There is, however, some suggestion from perceptual studies involving somewhat more complex response measures (and where notably competing response tendencies were more prevalent) that discriminative performance is also impaired in the case of high-anxiety Ss (1). The experiment to be reported utilized verbal discrimination learning as the task. It has been previously reported that rate of verbal discrimination learning is inversely related to difficulty of the task where intra-task similarity defines the difficulty level (6). In addition to the above type of task difficulty variable the present work incorporated an anxiety variable in an attempt to determine what relationship exists between anxiety and discrimination learning of a more complex nature. Further, any interactions which might obtain between anxiety level and difficulty of task may be noted within the present design.

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Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





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© Copyright 1957 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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