Journal of Mechanical Systems for Transportation and Logistics
Online ISSN : 1882-1782
ISSN-L : 1882-1782
Behavior under High Arousal Conditions: On the Difference between High Optimists and Low Optimists
Mayuko UEDAKazushige WADAShinnosuke USUI
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2013 Volume 6 Issue 2 Pages 100-110


An analysis of individual differences in behavior under high arousal conditions was conducted. Participants completed a measure of optimism (the Explanatory Style questionnaire) and were divided into high and low optimists on the basis of these scores. Then, participants played the “water-pipe game” under conditions of “time pressure” and “severity” designed to increase arousal. (“Emergency” consists of both these factors together.) In this game, they had to click a computer mouse to complete the game using the minimum number of clicks. We found that high optimists' click frequency increased and their thinking time declined under the high-arousal condition. This was not so in the control condition, who tended to act promptly without much active thought. On the other hand, we found that low optimists' click frequency did not increased under any conditions, but their total number of clicks was larger than high optimists'. Namely low optimists seemed to act carefully but in an inefficient fashion. Processing efficiency theory can account for this pattern: anxiety leads to a reduction in the storage capacity of the working memory system. These results suggest that trait optimism can influence behavior patterns such as “choking” under pressure.

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© 2013 by The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers
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