Examining the antecedents of challenge and threat states: the influence of perceived required effort and support availability.
International Journal of Psychophysiology
© 2014. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
To date, limited research has explicitly examined the antecedents of challenge and threat states proposed by the biopsychosocial model. Thus, the aim of the present study was to examine the influence of perceived required effort and support availability on demand/resource evaluations, challenge and threat states, and motor performance. A 2 (required effort; high, low)×2 (support availability; available, not available) between-subjects design was used with one hundred and twenty participants randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Participants received instructions designed to manipulate perceptions of required effort and support availability before demand/resource evaluations and cardiovascular responses were assessed. Participants then performed the novel motor task (laparoscopic surgery) while performance was recorded. Participants in the low perceived required effort condition evaluated the task as more of a challenge (i.e., resources outweighed demands), exhibited a cardiovascular response more indicative of a challenge state (i.e., higher cardiac output and lower total peripheral resistance), and performed the task better (i.e., quicker completion time) than those in the high perceived required effort condition. However, perceptions of support availability had no significant impact on participants' demand/resource evaluations, cardiovascular responses, or performance. Furthermore, there was no significant interaction effect between perceptions of required effort and support availability. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at promoting a challenge state should include instructions that help individuals perceive that the task is not difficult and requires little physical and mental effort to perform effectively.
International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2014, Vol. 93, Issue 2, pp. 267 - 273
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