Can't get you off my mind: Relationship reflection creates cognitive load for more anxiously attached individuals

Sarah C. E. Stanton*, Lorne Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Attachment anxiety is characterized by rumination about romantic relationships, particularly when the attachment system is activated. Two studies investigated the hypothesis that more anxiously attached individuals would experience cognitive load when attachment concerns were activated (vs. not activated). Study 1 found that more anxious persons encountering relationship threat (vs. no threat) demonstrated greater holistic processing on a shape categorization task, a type of processing reflective of cognitive load. Study 2 found that more anxious persons encountering relationship threat (vs. no threat or academic threat) exhibited slower reaction times on a Stroop task, a pattern also reflective of cognitive load. This research lends novel insight into how attachment system activation and relationship reflection pose a cognitive vulnerability for more anxious individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-455
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume32
Issue number4
Early online date21 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Attachment
  • attention
  • cognitive load
  • holistic processing
  • romantic relationships
  • close relationships
  • working models
  • ego depletion
  • information
  • self
  • accessibility
  • perceptions
  • perspective
  • activation

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