Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience
We examine the basic question of whether pressure is stressful. We propose that when examining the role of stress or pressure in cognitive performance it is important to consider the type of pressure, the stress response, and the aspect of cognition assessed. In Experiment 1, outcome pressure was not experienced as stressful but did lead to impaired performance on a rule-based (RB) category learning task and not a more procedural information-integration (II) task. In Experiment 2, the addition of monitoring pressure resulted in a modest stress response to combined pressure and impairment on both tasks. Across experiments, higher stress appraisals were associated with decreased performance on the RB, but not the II, task. In turn, higher stress-reactivity (heart rate) was associated with enhanced performance on the II, but not the RB, task. This work represents an initial step towards integrating the stress-cognition and pressure-cognition literatures and suggests that integrating these fields may require consideration of the type of pressure, the stress-response, and the cognitive system mediating performance.
McCoy, Shannon L.; Hutchinson, Steven B.; Hawthorne, Lauren; Cosley, Brandon J.; and Ell, Shawn W., "Is Pressure Stressful? The Impact of Pressure on the Stress Response and Category Learning" (2013). Psychology Faculty Scholarship. 25.
(c) Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/ doi: 10.3758/s13415-013-0215-1
post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)