Test anxiety refers to maladaptive cognitive and physiological reactions that interfere with optimal performance. Self-regulatory models suggest test anxiety occurs when there is a perceived discrepancy between current functioning and mental representations of desired academic goals. Interestingly, prior investigations have demonstrated those with greater interhemispheric communication are better able to detect discrepancies between current functioning and preexisting mental representations. Thus, the current study was designed to investigate the relationship between test anxiety and handedness—a commonly used proxy variable for interhemispheric communication. Undergraduate and graduate students (N = 277, 85.20% female, 68.19% Caucasian, age = 29.88) (SD = 9.53) completed the FRIEDBEN Test Anxiety Scale and Edinburgh Handedness Inventory – Short Form. A series of Mann–Whitney U tests were used to test for differences in the cognitive, physiological, and social components of test anxiety between mixed- and consistent-handers. The results indicated that mixed-handers had significantly higher levels of cognitive test anxiety than consistent-handers. We believe this information has important implications for our understanding of the role of discrepancy detection and interhemispheric communication in eliciting and maintaining test-anxious responses.


This article, published by Cambridge University Press, is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.


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Thomas, C., & Fitch, S. (2023). Handedness and test anxiety: An examination of mixed-handed and consistent-handed students. Experimental Results, 4, E15. doi:10.1017/exp.2023.14

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