High-maintenance interaction: inefficient social coordination impairs self-regulation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Tasks requiring interpersonal coordination permeate all spheres of life. Although social coordination is sometimes efficient and effortless (low maintenance), at other times it is inefficient and effortful (high maintenance). Across 5 studies, participants experienced either a high- or a low-maintenance interaction with a confederate before engaging in an individual-level task requiring self-regulation. Self-regulation was operationalized with measures of (a) preferences for a challenging task with high reward potential over an easy task with low reward potential (Study 1) and (b) task performance (anagram performance in Study 1, Graduate Record Exam performance in Studies 2 and 3, physical stamina in Study 4, and fine motor control in Study 5). Results uniformly supported the hypothesis that experiencing high-maintenance interaction impairs one's self-regulatory success on subsequent, unrelated tasks. These effects were not mediated through participants' conscious processes and emerged even with a nonconscious manipulation of high-maintenance interaction.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Finkel, EJ; Campbell, WK; Brunell, AB; Dalton, AN; Scarbeck, SJ; Chartrand, TL

Published Date

  • September 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 456 - 475

PubMed ID

  • 16938030

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0022-3514.91.3.456


  • eng