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Abstract

High levels of arousal and anxiety can affect an individual’s ability to process information and learn new skills. The present study used a high platform lunge task to examine the effect of task repetition on state anxiety and how an individual’s ability to process visual and auditory information is affected by arousal level. Twenty-six females (21.8 ± 2.8 yrs) performed six lunges from a six-meter platform to a suspended trapeze. Measures of state anxiety were recorded during the 5-minute rest period between each attempt. During the 10-second countdown to jump, the subjects were exposed to five visual and five auditory pieces of information that they were asked to recall 60 seconds after the lunge. The results indicated that individuals’ response to repeating an anxiety-evoking task is highly variable. When performing skills that induce anxiety, optimal information processing appears to occur in the third or forth attempt, as high levels of anxiety occur in earlier attempts and complacency can occur with further attempts. Visual cues are processed more readily than auditory cues at all levels of arousal, highlighting the importance of the inclusion of visual instructional strategies. The findings are informative for understanding best practice when teaching and learning skills that evoke anxiety.

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