© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In the present study, we explored the effects of high arousal on cognitive performance when facing a situation of risk. We also investigated how these effects are moderated by either positive or negative emotional states (valence). An ecological methodology was employed, and a field study was carried out in a real-life situation with 39 volunteer participants performing a bungee jumping activity and a control group of 39 participants. Arousal and valence were assessed with the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM). Working memory capacity (reverse digit span), selective attention (Go/No-Go task) and decision-making (Iowa Gambling Task) were assessed at 3 time points: 30 min before the jump, immediately after the jump, and approximately 8 min after the onset of the previous phase. The results indicate that high arousal accompanied by high positive valence scores after jumping either improved performance or led to a lack of impairment in certain cognitive tasks. The Processing-Efficiency and the Broaden-and-Build theories are put forward to explain emotional moderation of cognitive performance in potentially life-threatening situations.
- bungee jumping
- cognitive processing