Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Christine L Larson

Committee Members

Christine L Larson, Han-Joo J Lee, Karyn M Frick, Susan D Lima, Raymond Fleming


Anxiety, AX-continuous performance task, Cognitive control, Dual Mechanism of Control, Proactive Control, Reactive Control


Cognitive control is a construct that prioritizes how we process stimuli and information and execute behaviors to flexibly and efficiently adapt to internal goals and external environmental changes. A recent theory, the Dual Mechanism of Control (DMC), distinguishes this phenomenon by two distinct cognitive control operations: proactive control and reactive control (Braver, 2012). Anxiety increases the allocation of attentional and working memory resources to threat-related stimuli, which impairs cognitive performance (Sarason, 1988), but additional work is needed to assess how anxiety impacts these two distinct forms of cognitive control. In this study, I examined how state anxiety affected proactive control, using the AX-continuous performance task (AX-CPT), and reactive control, using the classic Stroop task. The results showed that state anxiety inhibited proactive control in AX-CPT test, but increased reactive control in the Stroop task. Ultimately, by completing this study, we will better understand how anxiety impacts the proactive and reactive control.