A process analysis of self-regulation and emotional arousal effects
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The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of emotional arousal on self-regulatory behaviors and physiological responding. To this end, three levels of emotional arousal (positive, negative, and neutral) were crossed with two levels of task difficulty (low mastery, high mastery) to form six groups. A personally relevant manipulation involving feedback on intelligence was used to induce emotional arousal. Although the positive and negative groups reported significant increases in emotional arousal from baseline, the positive group was not more aroused than the neutral group. Further, the arousal levels diminished to a great extent at the end of the procedure. Therefore, conclusions concerning the effect of mood on performance outcome remained only speculative. On the measures of physiological responding, all groups seemed to increase in arousal equivalently as a result of the induction. Mood groups differed in physiological arousal only during self- evaluation . The most important finding was the impact of the discrepancy between the perceived performance level and performance criterion on mood and self-regulatory were found to predict both the degree and valence of self-regulated mood. In addition, this discrepancy was found to predict engagement in self-regulatory processes such as amount of time spent self-monitoring and the nature of self-evaluation and self- consequation. The findings are discussed in the context of Schefft and Lehr's (1985) self-regulation model.