Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Kaileigh Byrne, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Leo Gugerty

Committee Member

Dr. Fred Switzer

Abstract

Previous research suggests that psychological pressure tends to exert detrimental effects on action-oriented cognitive tasks. However, the effect of psychological pressure on inhibitory cognitive processes has been relatively overlooked. Consequently, the goal of this study was to examine the effect of psychological pressure on response inhibition performance. Participants (N = 125) were assigned to either a time pressure condition or control condition, and then completed the Stop Signal Task, which tests response inhibition. Outcome variables of interest were stop accuracy, stop signal reaction time, and post error slowing. The results from the study indicated that time pressure significantly impaired stop signal accuracy relative to the control condition. However, time pressure did not affect stop signal reaction time or post error slowing. This study conforms to the distraction theory of performance pressure. From this study, the observed effects detail what can be seen from this type of pressure. With this information, studies can be conducted on other types of performance pressure to expand the knowledge of those effects.

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