“Worry is Associated with Impaired Gating of Threat from Working Memory”

Recent results from the lab’s collaboration with Christine Larson and Danny Stout (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) indicate that stable individual differences in the propensity to worry, a key maladaptive feature of many anxiety disorders, reflect inefficient filtering of anxiety-related distracters from working memory, the ‘blackboard of the mind.’ The results are consistent with the idea that, once anxiety-related information gains access to this mental blackboard, it’s poised to drive future thoughts, feelings, and actions in a manner that promotes sustained distress and arousal.

D.M. Stout, A.J. Shackman, J. S. Johnson & C.L. Larson. (in press). Emotion.