It has long been demonstrated that anxiety can impair efficient performance in a range of behavioural tasks. Research from the field of cognitive affective neuroscience suggests that goal-directed attention necessary for execution of a task is important in increased efficiency and effectiveness when aiming for peak performance (Eysneck, Santos, Calvo, & Derakshan, 2007). Evidence of top-down processes endogenous attention regulating bottom-up exogenous attentional processes (Eimer & Kiss, 2008) supports the importance of having a task, or goal in order to regulate the reduction of necessary attention capture by things that are perceived as threat-related.
Anxiety has been found to reduce inhibition of task irrelevant-stimuli (Derekshan & Eysenck, 2009; Eysneck, Santos, Calvo, & Derakshan, 2007), thereby reducing efficiency due in part to cognitive interference (Sarason, 1984) though not necessarily reducing effectiveness (See. Eysenck & Calvo, 1992). There is evidence that reduced inhibition of task-irrelevant stimuli increases visual capacity (Berggren, Derakshan, & Bloviesky, 2013). There is evidence from comparative psychology that implicates the amygdala in processing sensory stimuli, including auditory signals.