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Scientific article
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Explicit achievement motive strength determines effort-related myocardial beta-adrenergic activity if task difficulty is unclear but not if task difficulty is clear

Published inInternational journal of psychophysiology, vol. 169, p. 11-19
Publication date2021-11
First online date2021-09-01
Abstract

Work on physiological and other behavioral correlates of motives often assumes that motives exert a direct effect on behavior once activated. Motivational intensity theory, however, suggests that this does not always apply. In the context of task engagement, motive strength should exert a direct effect on myocardial beta-adrenergic activity if task difficulty is unclear, but not if task difficulty is known. The presented study tested this prediction for the impact of the explicit achievement motive on myocardial beta-adrenergic activity — assessed as pre-ejection period (PEP) reactivity during task performance. Seventy-eight participants performed one of two versions of a mental arithmetic task. After having completed the achievement motive scale of the Personality Research Form, participants were either informed about the difficulty of the task or not before working on it. Participants' PEP reactivity during task performance provided evidence for the predicted moderating impact of clarity of task difficulty: PEP reactivity increased with increasing achievement motive strength if task difficulty was unclear, but not if it was clear. These findings demonstrate that the explicit achievement motive impact on myocardial beta-adrenergic activity is moderated by clarity of task difficulty and suggest that motive strength does not always translate into direct effects on physiology and behavior.

eng
Keywords
  • Clarity of task difficulty
  • Effort
  • Explicit achievement motive
  • Motivational intensity theory
  • Myocardial sympathetic activity
Citation (ISO format)
MAZERES, Florence, BRINKMANN, Kerstin, RICHTER, Michael. Explicit achievement motive strength determines effort-related myocardial beta-adrenergic activity if task difficulty is unclear but not if task difficulty is clear. In: International journal of psychophysiology, 2021, vol. 169, p. 11–19. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2021.08.004
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ISSN of the journal0167-8760
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Creation09/23/2021 12:19:00 PM
First validation09/23/2021 12:19:00 PM
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