Stress Affects the Selection of Relevant From Irrelevant Stimuli

Hedva Braunstein-Bercovitz*, Inbal Dimentman-Ashkenazi, R. E. Lubow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments were used to examine the effects of stress on latent inhibition (LI; poorer learning with a previously exposed irrelevant stimulus rather than a novel stimulus). In Experiment 1, stress was induced in college students by threatening participants' self-esteem with a difficult number series completion test that was related to intelligence. In Experiment 2, the participants were job seekers who were either informed or not that the LI test was part of the selection process. In both experiments, LI was attenuated in high- as compared with low-stressed participants. The results suggest that stress and/or anxiety impairs the inhibition of irrelevant-preexposed stimuli. Implications for understanding the impaired selective attentional processes in schizophrenia and schizotypy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-192
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001


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