The cost of self-protection: threat response and performance as a function of autonomous and controlled motivations.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Seventy-seven undergraduates, primed for autonomous or controlled motivation, were videotaped and physiologically monitored during a stressful interview and subsequent speech. Interview videotapes were coded for behavioral measures of threat response; speech videotapes were coded for performance. It was hypothesized that relative to controlled motivation, autonomous motivation would decrease interview threat response and enhance speech performance, and that threat response would mediate the effect of motivation on performance. Results support the prediction across measures of verbal, paralinguistic, smiling, vocal fundamental frequency, and cardiovascular response. Autonomously primed participants continued to show less cardiovascular threat throughout the later speech and gave better speeches. Finally, speech performance was mediated by interview threat response. Results demonstrate that relative to controlled motivation, autonomous motivation lowers threat response, which enhances performance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hodgins, HS; Weibust, KS; Weinstein, N; Shiffman, S; Miller, A; Coombs, G; Adair, KC

Published Date

  • August 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1101 - 1114

PubMed ID

  • 20693387

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-7433

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0146-1672

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0146167210375618


  • eng