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Valeria Gershkovich 1, Nadezhda Moroshkina 2, Almara Kulieva 3
  • 1 Saint Petersburg State University, 7/9 Universitetskaya Emb., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • 2 Saint Petersburg State University, 7/9 Universitetskaya emb., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • 3 Saint Petersburg State University, 7/9 Universitetskaya emb., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation

Is It Bad to Control Too Much? The Effect of the Regulatory Focus on the Estimation of Short Time Intervals under Competitive Pressure

2020. Vol. 17. No. 3. P. 577–591 [issue contents]
Choking under pressure is the phenomenon known in sport as errors in the automated motor skill execution that appear under circumstances that increase the importance of good or improved performance (Baumeister, 1984). Several theories claim that the reason for this phenomenon lies in control reinvestment, which provokes skill de-automatization. According to our hypothesis, control reinvestment appears due to fear of making a mistake, because an attempt to check “if the mistake is made or not” paradoxically provokes a mistake (Allakhverdov, 2000; Wegner, 1994). In our study we analyzed the influence of two factors: the “value” factor (regular vs valuable trials); and the “frame of the task” factor (bonus vs penalty). Participants played a computer game “Virtual Golf”, competing with each other. In a golf-like virtual scenario, a player had to learn to putt the ball to a hole displayed on the screen by pressing and holding a key for a certain period (2, 4, 6, 8 sec). The value of the target was manipulated during the competition session. In addition, one group was penalized for failing to hit the valuable target, whereas the other group received extra rewards for a hit. The generalized data of the experiment is in line with the theory of control reinvestment, as well as the idea that excessive control adversely affects performance of simple automated tasks. We observed choking under pressure when participants were putting balls in the closest targets (2 sec): participants made more errors putting the ball to valuable targets than to regular ones. The influence of task frame on the time taken for preparation for the trials was discovered: the “penalty” group prepared longer. We also found out that when more time was taken preparing for the shot, more errors were made.
Citation: Gershkovich V., Moroshkina N., Kulieva A. (2020) Plokho li, kogda kontrolya slishkom mnogo? Vliyanie regulyatornogo fokusa na otsenku korotkikh vremennykh intervalov v situatsii sorevnovatel'nogo davleniya [Is It Bad to Control Too Much? The Effect of the Regulatory Focus on the Estimation of Short Time Intervals under Competitive Pressure]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 17, no 3, pp. 577-591 (in Russian)
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