Implementation intentions and test anxiety: Shielding academic performance from distraction

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Learning and Individual Differences


implementation intention, test anxiety, academic performance, televised distraction, college students, math examination


College students whose test anxiety was measured completed a working memory-intensive math exam with televised distractions. Students were provided with implementation intentions (if–then plans; Gollwitzer, 1999) designed to either help them ignore the distractions (i.e., temptation-inhibiting plans) or focus more intently on the math exam (i.e., task-facilitating plans). Regression analyses showed that as test anxiety increased, the effectiveness of temptation-inhibiting implementation intentions increased, whereas task-facilitating implementation intentions increasingly harmed performance as test anxiety increased. In addition, the consequences of these plans differed significantly for those high in test anxiety. Implications for effective self-regulation by test-anxious students are discussed.


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