Stress Response Associated with Finishing a Test Slower than One’s Peers
Ross III, David
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Numerous non-academic variables, such as negative emotions, confidence, and cognitive appraisal, influence one’s success on a test. Such indirect time pressures applied to test-taking situations may influence one’s cognitive self-assessments, and consequently, one’s confidence during a test. Collectively, these variables may affect one’s performance on a test. In this study, the participant was falsely told he or she was taking part in a study involving how sleep affects test performance. Two confederates took the test with the participant, and were signaled to finish before the participant was done with the test. Subjects’ heart rates, blood pressures, and skin conductances were measured throughout the test, and averages were compared at three intervals: before the first confederate left, between the departures of the two confederates, and after the second confederate left. This research focused on how finishing slower than one’s peers may affect stress levels while taking a test. It was hypothesized that a slight increase in blood pressure and skin conductance and a larger increase in heart rate would be observed upon realizing one was completing the test slower. While each variable measured increased slightly on average, these increases were not statistically significant. These findings reveal that spending more time taking a test than one’s peers does not necessarily cause physiological changes in heart rate, skin conductance, and blood pressure.
An article that appeared in JASS, issue 2017