Effects of task difficulty and Type A behavior pattern on the inverted-u relationship between stress level and performance
Vitassi, Susan A.
Master of Arts
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The purpose of this study was twofold: to examine the effects of task difficulty and the Type A Behavior Pattern on the inverted-U relationship between stress level (arousal) and performance, and to examine possible Type A/B differences in response to competition. A 2 X 2 factorial design was used in this study. The two factors were the type of task (simple or complex) and the behavior pattern of the subject (Type A or Type B)* Subjects were 60 males from introductory psychology classes at Lakehead University. Three male confederates were employed to act as competitors against experimental subjects. Subjects practiced either a simple (digit letter) task or a complex (colour letter) task for seven trials, and then competed against a confederate on the eighth trial. Tonic heart rate was recorded throughout the study as a physiological measure of stress, pleasantness ratings were obtained as a cognitive, evaluative measure of stress, and performance on the task was recorded as a behavioral measure of stress.