When the stakes are high: an application of the interactionist principle of trait activation to the prediction of performance under pressure

Geukes, Katharina (2013). When the stakes are high: an application of the interactionist principle of trait activation to the prediction of performance under pressure PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Geukes, Katharina
Thesis Title When the stakes are high: an application of the interactionist principle of trait activation to the prediction of performance under pressure
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Michael Kellmann
Stephanie J. Hanrahan
Christopher Mesagno
Total pages 174
Total black and white pages 174
Language eng
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
1701 Psychology
1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment
Formatted abstract
This dissertation addressed the predictability of performance under pressure through personality traits. Taking an interactionist perspective, the principle of trait activation was applied to the performance prediction. Because trait activation theorists suggest that only trait-relevant situational demands activate respective traits in (pres- sure) situations, situational demands of private, mixed, and public high-pressure situations were hypothesized to distinctly activate self-focus and self-presentation personality traits: Private and mixed (i.e., laboratory-based) high-pressure conditions would only activate self-focus traits (i.e., private self-consciousness), but not self-presentation traits (i.e., public self-consciousness, narcissism); and public high-pressure conditions would only activate self-presentation traits, but not self-focus traits. Low-pressure conditions would not activate any of the investigated personality traits. To empirically test these trait activation-based hypotheses, three consecutive studies were conducted that involved public (Study 1), private (Study 2), and private, mixed, and public (Study 3) high-pressure conditions. After participants had completed personality questionnaires, state-anxiety and performance on a throwing accuracy task were measured in low- pressure and high-pressure situations. State anxiety scores indicated successful pressure manipulations throughout the studies. Findings further supported the applicability of the interactionist principle of trait activation to the context of performance under pressure, because laboratory-based high-pressure situations only activated self-focus traits, public high-pressure situations only activated self-presentation traits, and none of the low-pressure conditions activated any of the personality traits. Hence, findings of this dissertation highlight that the simultaneous consideration of person and situation variables results in an improved (i.e., high-pressure situation-specific) prediction of performance under pressure through personality traits. Additionally, because public high-pressure situations distinctly differed from laboratory-based conditions in their trait activation ability, research on the personality/performance relationship should best take place in ecologically valid, namely public, scenarios.
Keyword Choking under pressure
Person-situation debate
Interactionism
Trait activation
Self-consciousness
Narcissism
Self-focus
Self-presentation
Public evaluation
Motor performance

 
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Created: Fri, 22 Feb 2013, 23:57:55 EST by Katharina Geukes on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service