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The effect of two different stress situations on the performance and learning of a pursuit rotor task Wenger, Howard Allan

Abstract

Thirty volunteer subjects were given thirty trials on the pursuit rotor. Twenty trials were given on one day and ten further trials were given approximately twenty-four hours later. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) the directed stress group: 2) the non-directed stress group: and 3) the control group. Shock and instructions were used to induce the stress in the two stress groups. The instructions to the directed stress group were assumed to have directed the subjects' attention toward the pursuit rotor task, while the instructions to the non-directed stress group were not designed to give direction to their attention. The results showed that there was no difference in performance due to either stress condition when compared to the control group. However, when tested twenty-four hours later, both stress groups showed significant improvements in learning over the control group. There was no significant difference in learning between the two stress groups.

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