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Neural correlates of prospective memory in college students with anxiety




Rice, Michaela S., author
Davalos, Deana, advisor
Thomas, Michael, committee member
Faw, Meara, committee member
Tompkins, Sara Anne, committee member

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Prospective memory is the ability to create and execute future tasks. It is comprised of two components: cue detection and intention retrieval. Prospective memory is essential for successfully performing high-level goals, a proficiency that is of extreme importance in college populations. Previous research has shown that prospective memory is vulnerable to deterioration in individuals with psychological disorders. Anxiety is a psychological disorder that has been associated with various cognitive deficits, including prospective memory impairment, and it is highly prevalent among undergraduate students. To date, no studies have investigated the relationship between prospective memory and anxiety using neurophysiology. The purpose of the present study is to fill this gap in the literature by examining prospective memory performance in college students with anxiety using an electroencephalogram (EEG). After recording anxiety levels via self-reported measures, participants completed a computerized prospective memory task while two types of event-related potentials were recorded from an EEG: the N300 to assess cue detection, and the prospective positivity to assess intention retrieval. The findings indicate that anxiety was not significantly related to prospective memory performance, although the data patterns suggest that accuracy decreased as anxiety increased. Intention retrieval was weakly positively correlated with accuracy, and weakly negatively correlated with state anxiety. Taken together, these results suggest intention retrieval could be a key component in supporting prospective memory for college students with high state anxiety.


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