ERIC Number: ED160954
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: N/A
Performance Decrements Following Stress: Learned Helplessness, Passive Uncontrollability, or Distrust?
Twiton, Elizabeth M.; Anderson, Ernest B.
Three explanations for post-stress performance decrement were investigated--learned helplessness, passive uncontrollability, and distrust. A group of male and female undergraduates at Carthage College (N=112) were exposed to one of four stress treatment conditions: escapable noise (EN), inescapable noise (IN), noise experienced with no expectation of control (NC) or no noise (NN). Three measures of subsequent performance decrement on an anagram task were obtained: trials to criterion, mean solution time, and total failures to solve. To test for distrust, this task was administered by the same or a different experimenter. A three-way analysis of variance was performed for stress treatment, same versus different experimenter, and sex of subject. A significant main effect for stress treatment was found. The IN and NC groups showed equivalent performance decrements on all three dependent variables. The EN and NN groups showed no performance decrements. No other significant main effects or interactions were found. Experiencing uncontrollability resulted in equal performance decrements regardless of subjects' expectations of or efforts to control the noise. Distrust was not supported as an alternative explanation. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A