محدودیت های کنترل: اثرات تجارب کنترل ناپذیری در بهره وری از کنترل توجه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|38696||2015||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10550 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Acta Psychologica, Volume 154, January 2015, Pages 43–53
Abstract Two experiments were conducted to explore the effects of experiencing uncontrollability on the efficiency of attentional control. The experience of uncontrollability was induced either by unsolvable tasks (Experiment 1) or by tasks in which non-contingent feedback was provided (Experiment 2). A version of the Attentional Network Test-Interactions with an additional measure of vigilance (ANTI-V) was used to evaluate the efficiency of the attentional networks (i.e., alerting, orienting, and executive). Results of both experiments revealed a decreased efficiency of executive attention in participants who experienced stable control deprivation but no negative effects in participants who were able to restore their sense of previously deprived control. Additionally, when participants were asked to perform unsolvable tasks and did not receive feedback (Experiment 1), detrimental effects on the orienting network and vigilance were observed. The motivational and cognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of various uncontrollability experiences on conflict resolution and attentional control are discussed.
Introduction The human natural inclination to perceive oneself as having personal control and a sense of agency has been considered as a basic form of motivation (Bandura, 1977, DeCharms, 1968, Skinner, 1996, Thompson, 1981 and White, 1959). The lack or decline of this subjective sense of control may restrict individuals' objective cognitive abilities, efficiency, or resources available to perform successful actions. One strand of research on the effects of control deprivation on cognitive performance has shown that prolonged cognitive engagement in effortful problem solving without success can lead to a state described as cognitive exhaustion (Kofta, 1993 and Sedek and Kofta, 1990). This, in turn, impairs individuals' ability to select and integrate incoming information into meaningful cognitive structures or mental models and diminishes their efficiency in dealing with incongruent and often conflictive pieces of information (in terms of incoming stimuli and the contrast between the expected effects of certain actions and their actual outcomes) (Kofta, 1993, Kofta and Sedek, 1999 and von Hecker and Sedek, 1999). In addition, preliminary evidence from a dual task paradigm suggests that control deprivation may also affect attentional selection processes (Kofta & Sedek, 1998). Therefore, it seems plausible to hypothesize that the function impaired by uncontrollability experiences is attentional control. A different strand of research has suggested that an experience of control deprivation may also have positive effects on individuals' cognitive efficiency. For instance, Wortman and Brehm (1975) suggested that short periods of control deprivation may actually enhance the efficiency of cognitive processes, whereas prolonged experiences of lack of control can lead to cognitive impairment, as predicted by the learned helplessness theory (Seligman, 1975). As hypothesized, short-lasting uncontrollability experiences have been found to lead to an increased tendency to engage in attribution processes, systematic information processing, and more accurate problem-solving strategies (Mikulincer et al., 1989, Pittman and D'Agostino, 1989 and Pittman and Pittman, 1980). In other words, the nature of the uncontrollability effects on cognitive processes seems to depend on time and on the type and intensity of the uncontrollability experiences. Accordingly, it is plausible to consider that an unstable and temporary state of uncontrollability may restore or even enhance the efficiency of attentional control. It should be noted that research on the impact of uncontrollability on attention is scarce and the functioning of attentional control after various uncontrollability experiences has not been directly explored yet. Nevertheless, the literature seems to suggest that subjective experiences of control deprivation may put an additional load on top-down, endogenous attentional control, understood as the ability to deal with incongruent and often conflictive pieces of information (mainly between one's goals or the contrast between the expected effects of certain actions and their actual outcomes; Kofta & Sedek, 1999). There are several premises supporting the idea of interrelatedness between the experience of personal control and the efficiency of attentional control. One set of premises can be derived from studies on executive attention or executive control (Posner and DiGirolamo, 2000 and Posner and Petersen, 1990). First, executive attention is supposed to underlie performance monitoring, which helps to achieve an expected level of accuracy or to achieve one's goals by intensifying attentional control when it is necessary to correct inefficient actions or ineffective strategies (e.g., Botvinick, Braver, Barch, Carter, & Cohen, 2001). Therefore, exposure to unsolvable tasks or incongruent situational demands should directly affect the intensity of conflict monitoring and the efficiency of attentional control. Second, several authors have argued that executive attention underlies or even determines voluntary control and self-control, in terms of cognitive as well as emotional and motivational (e.g. self-regulation) processes (Derryberry, 2002, Posner, 2012 and Posner et al., 2007).1 Third, it has been shown that personal experiences related to a sense of powerlessness (understood as lack of control in a social context) impair executive functions such as updating and inhibition (Smith, Jostman, Galinsky, & van Dijk, 2008), decrease the ability to avoid distractors and focus on goal-relevant information (Guinote, 2007), and reduce the efficiency of using spatial orienting cues to improve executive control (Willis, Rodríguez-Bailón, & Lupiáñez, 2011). These results could therefore lead to analogous predictions of detrimental effects of control deprivation on executive attention. However, this analogy should be taken with caution since, as reported earlier, short-term control deprivation experiences may activate reactance-based motivational mechanisms that can also lead to improved performance (Pittman & D'Agostino, 1989). In the present study, two experiments were conducted to explore the relationship between the experience of subjective control and the behavioral efficiency of attentional control. On the one hand, the experience of stable lack of any personal control (i.e., the sense of uncontrollability) may temporarily reduce the efficiency of executive attention, decreasing individuals' ability to distinguish relevant from irrelevant information (i.e., an impaired filtering of signal from noise). On the other hand, if control deprivation indeed impairs executive attention, an experience of subsequent control restoration may act as a positive signal of the possibility to restore lost subjective control by engaging executive attention and thus significantly improve performance. Accordingly, we expected a stable experience of control deprivation to lead to deficits in attentional control (Hypothesis 1); by contrast, we expected a control deprivation experience followed by control restoration to be cognitively stimulating, preventing such deficits and even leading to improved efficiency of attentional control (Hypothesis 2). Our hypotheses focused primarily on the effects of control deprivation on executive attention, defined in terms of Posner's three attentional networks theory (executive, orienting, and alerting networks) as the ability to resolve conflicts or interferences and regulate ongoing actions, thoughts, and feelings (Petersen and Posner, 2012 and Posner and Rothbart, 2007). Accordingly, we measured the efficiency of executive attention using a modified version of the Attention Network Test (ANT; Fan et al., 2002 and MacLeod et al., 2010). This version provides not only a standard measure of executive control, spatial orienting, and phasic alertness but also a measure of tonic alertness or vigilance, that is, the ability to self-sustain mindful readiness to detect rare and irregularly occurring stimuli (Posner and Petersen, 1990 and Robertson and O'Connell, 2010). This task was developed by Roca, Castro, López-Ramón, and Lupiáñez (2011) and is called ANTI — Vigilance (ANTI-V). We considered that the differentiation between these four relatively independent functions of attention (Fan et al., 2002 and MacLeod et al., 2010) would allow us to determine whether the predicted effects of control deprivation are indeed specific to executive attention or reflect a more general impact on a broader range of attentional processes. Moreover, we believed that the choice of this task to measure executive control would enable us to explore whether the predicted effect of experiencing uncontrollability on executive control is modulated by other attentional functions.