Need for speed: The functional role of impulsivity as an action strategy

Byrne, Jessica (2015). Need for speed: The functional role of impulsivity as an action strategy Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Byrne, Jessica
Thesis Title Need for speed: The functional role of impulsivity as an action strategy
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-06
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ada Kritikos
Total pages 88
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
The current study aimed to investigate individual differences in selective action based on impulsivity. Participants completed a selective reaching task that consisted of reaching as fast and accurately as possible towards a red target square, presented on a horizontal computer screen. Yellow distractor squares appeared concurrently with the target, which the participants were told to ignore. Targets could appear on the left or right, and distractors could appear on the same-side or opposite-side of the target. No-go trials (white square appeared) and target only trials were included. Additionally, the Stop-Signal task was used as a measure of response inhibition ability (SSRT). Lastly, participants filled out the Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire (I7). The high impulsives (as indexed by fast initiation time on the reaching task) initiated and executed reaches faster compared with the low impulsives. The high impulsives showed less reach deviation to the right and in height compared with the low impulsives. Unlike the low impulsives, the high impulsives appeared to adapt reach initiation to compensate for differences in movement duration for left and right targets. The low impulsives were slower to initiate their reach when the distractor was in the opposite visual hemifield as the target. However, the high impulsives were not impacted by the location of the irrelevant information. SSRT was unrelated with self-reported impulsivity and initiation time. These findings indicate that the high impulsives were more effective at extracting task-relevant information for superior motor performance compared with the low impulsives. This pattern of motor output may reflect a type of impulsive responding that is functional for the rapid processing of visual information for action, without a decrement in response inhibition ability. These results support individual differences in motor strategies for action preparation and execution.
Keyword Impulsivity

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Created: Thu, 17 Mar 2016, 09:27:11 EST by Stephanie Kerr on behalf of School of Psychology