The physiological effects of induced competition on short-term memory, heart rate, and electrodermal activity
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
MetadataShow full item record
The presence of competition in human beings’ daily interactions is inescapable; from landing a promotion in the workplace, to being perceived as successful in social groups, to a seemingly friendly game of ping-pong, humans cannot avoid the inherent desire to compete and achieve success in their endeavors. When presented with perceived competition, the body undergoes a number of physiological changes to optimize performance. The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological effects of competition during the completion of a shortterm memory game. Participants were randomly placed into a group and asked to complete a memory game first alone, and then again against a competitor (Group 1) or first against a competitor, and then alone (Group 2). Participants’ completion times under both circumstances, as well as their heart rate and electrodermal activity (EDA), were measured in order to provide insight into the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. We found that the completion time of the memory game was not significantly affected by the presence of a competitor, but that both heart rate and EDA significantly increased when faced with competition, indicating activation of the sympathetic nervous system. These results could provide greater insight to the ways that humans perceive and respond to competition, information that is particularly relevant in academic and workplace settings.
electrodermal activity (EDA)
Sympathetic Nervous System