Johnson and Scott arranged for participants to be sitting in a waiting room
Whilst they were waiting in the waiting room there was an argument in the room next door
Man walks through holding a greasy pen (low anxiety)
Man walks through holding a bloody knife ( high anxiety)
Later, participants are asked to identify the man from a set of photographs
mean accuracy of identify the man was 49% in condition 1 (pen), dropping to 33% in condition 2 (bloody knife). Recordings of participants eye movements showed the presence of the knife caused attention to be focused on the weapon rather than the mans face.
Mean accuracy of identifying person carry greasy pen was higher because they eyes did not play as much attention on the pen as they did on the bloody knife