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Sonia Yanovsky, Tesa Saulmon, Paula Pham, Layna Crabtree, Cheryl Lee, Dr. Carolyn Pritchett, and Dr. Hui-Ya Han, Psychology Department, University of West Florida, 11000 University Pkwy, Pensacola, FL 32514
Stress is widely perceived as debilitating, which is a negative stress mindset, while the helpful aspects of stress, from a positive stress mindset, are often overlooked. Stress mindset can either be a positive, stress-is-enhancing mindset, or a negative, stress-is-debilitating mindset. Previous research has shown that having a positive mindset lowers stress levels and generates better self-reported work performance. Thus, this study focuses on the effects of manipulated stress mindset on objective cognitive performance, which has not been studied before. During each of our three stages (baseline, stress induction, and mindset manipulation), we measured participants’ current subjective stress levels, objective stress levels using a pulse oximeter, stress mindset with the Stress Control Mindset Measure and an implicit association task, and cognitive performance with the Stroop task and Trail Making Task. To induce stress, we informed the participants that they must give a public speech if they did not improve their reaction time and accuracy on the cognitive tasks. Then we manipulated their mindset using a randomly assigned video to convince the participant that stress is either enhancing or debilitating. Our first hypothesis is that the Positive Mindset group will have self-improved accuracy and decreased reaction time in the cognitive tasks as compared to the Negative Mindset group. Our second hypothesis is that the stress levels of the Positive Mindset group will be reduced/mitigated after mindset manipulation as compared to the Negative Mindset group. The between-subjects design will be used to explore the effect of stress mindset (Positive, Negative) on change in stress level and cognitive performance. Data collection has been completed and further statistical analysis will be conducted before April 2019.
University of West Florida