"that anxiety leads one to collect more information than one would otherwise (well, presuming one cares and thinks more information might prove useful"
I'd be interested in knowing a little more about this. Typically, stress releases a chemical called cortisol which actually disturbs short term memory (and increases vulnerability to disease). Did they experimentally compare those who believed something was relevant with those who had anxiety about that same something?
Sorry, I didn't print off the paper, and don't remember the methodological details. Might have been an experiment, but it might also have been survey research. As I recall the anxiety being tested came from the same source, but whether or not people thought information of some sort would help ... well that varied.
Well it may be that people become motivated to find more information which they are worse at retaining while anxious, which sure fits from my perspective. If someone has anxiety, they tend to retreat into the security of what appears to be certainty, a static belief or set of beliefs, which is what the anger research points out. Psychodynamic psychologists would call this intellectualization.
Of course, the trouble is that semantic structures tend to be less experientially relevant than the visceral (body senses), perceptual (body senses of externals), or motor (body senses of what the body's doing, typically motion) structures. So reading a book doesn't tend to do as much to overcome problems, typically, as doing things that activate other sensory networks, though as the research says in people coming to think they understand something, typically they have less anxiety.
Well that seems to fit with the paper that was presented in that they said anxiety had a significant effect leading one to increase their information search - but only if they believed such an increase would help. What they believe will help will likely be affected by their own framing of the problem, their preexisting perspectives on it.
Though I should also add that I think this - "If someone has anxiety, they tend to retreat into the security of what appears to be certainty, a static belief or set of beliefs, which is what the anger research points out" - is taking things off target, in that 1) anger was also tested (in this study and several others) and has notably different effects (the ones you mentioned) and 2) anxiety seems to open up individuals, forcing them to consider things they wouldn't otherwise consider. This fits a bit from David Welch's theory of foreign policy change - the status quo rules until you are suffering a huge loss, or are on the cusp of a huge loss, that forces. The anxiety of that forces you to finally ditch the commitments and policies you had been holding on to.
[And no, this wasn't a foreign policy paper, but the point seems on target.]
Well of course that's the part I'm interested in, how did they measure anger as different from the way they measured anxiety such that it led to coping instead of entrenching? From the perspective of psychological physics it would make sense that until one psychological object is acted upon by another, there's little change in its vector. But what explains the rigid, compulsive reaction on the one hand versus the kind of anxiety that brings forth an elastic collision versus an inelastic change?
We thought you'd been kidnapped by Bedouins or something. Nice to see you back.
No, the bedouins love me. Actually it was a gang of dingos who mistook me for a baby. Thanks for the welcome.