It suggests that increased anxiety directs attention inward
Processing efficiency theory attributes pressure-induced changes in performance to the effects of anxiety—which is elicited by pressure (Mullen, Hardy, & Tattersall, 2005)—on the capacity limited central executive
For example, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, et al. (2002) found that competitive pressure increased heart rate, which can reflect an increase in anxiety and/or arousal (e.g., Woodman & Davis, 2008). Specifically, increased anxiety can be reflected by increased heart rate, which occurs with an increase in sympathetic activation, as part of the anxiety response (Kreibig, 2010). Veldhuijzen van Zanten et al. (2002) also found that competitive pressure decreased heart rate variability, which can reflect increased mental effort (Mulder, 1992).
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