PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractOne experiment investigated the influence of a validated stressor, the Fear Factor Stress Test, on rule adherence behaviors. Using a computer generated virtual space, the C-G Arena, participants were given instructions to find visible and invisible targets in either a stress manipulated condition (the Fear Factor Stress Test) or control. Instructions regarding the location of the target were manipulated between experiments to explore how rules with varying levels of accuracy are obeyed. One group received minimal instructions, one received accurate instructions, and one received a set of instructions that did not match the environmental contingencies. Results in all conditions showed that participants adhered to the prescriptive rule even when the rule did not reflect the environmental contingencies. In the stressful conditions, participants showed increased adherence behaviors, results consistent with the literature illustrating that stress increases habit behaviors. Results will be discussed in reference to rule adherence, stress, and future interpretations of the Yerkes-Dodson law.
Degree ProgramHonors College