Saturday, 28 May 2011

Glass et al (1969)

Glass et al. (1969) induced frustration by giving 34 female participants unsolvable puzzles, and then repeatedly exposed them to noise.  What would be the effects on their stress levels and performance?

The research study had three conditions.
  • Unpredictable noise
  • Predictable noise
  • No noise (control group)

Smashing glass?  Image by laszlo-photo 

The researchers found that the unpredictable noise group showed a higher level of frustration, and their ability to solve puzzles was reduced after the noises.  This was not found with predictable noise - there was little difference between the other groups.

Interestingly, the researchers also tested what happened when the noises stopped. They found that if participants were led to believe that they had control over ending the unpredictable noise, their behaviour recovered more quickly.

Reference
Glass, D.C., Singer, J.E. and Friedman, L.N. (1969). Psychic cost of adaptation to an environmental stressor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 12(3), 200-210.

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