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Stress effects on endogenous and exogenous visuospatial attention.

Haugwitz, Leon von (2021) Stress effects on endogenous and exogenous visuospatial attention.

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Abstract:In this study we investigated the influence of stress on covert visual attention. Current research yields mixed results concerning their relationship with findings suggesting supportive as well as diminishing stress effects on attention. A framework by Hermans et al. (2011, 2014) proposes a stress induced network shift that promotes bottom-up at the cost of top-down mechanisms approximately for one hour following stress exposure. Participants were exposed to bilateral feet Cold Pressor Tests (CPT) repeatedly triggering activation of the sympathetic adrenomedullary system (SAM) and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) supposedly initiating the proposed network shift. Following the CPTs, participants performed a variant of the Posner cueing task in which central and peripheral cues were combined to assess endogenous and exogenous attention processes and their interaction. Behavioral results showed no differences between stress and control group regarding endogenous attention processes. This was supported by means of the EEG, where stressed participants showed no difference to controls in posterior alpha lateralization following endogenous cues. However, the stress group showed worse behavioral performance in trial conditions associated with exogenous processes respectively in trials where endogenous and exogenous cues interacted. In relation to Hermans framework, the behavioral and EEG evidence found in this study suggests stress effects that point away from a pure impairment of endogenous attention processes. Rather, the behavioral measures indicate that the stress response affects the interaction of exogenous and endogenous attentional mechanisms.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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