Assessed the effect of extrinsic incentives on the use of test anxiety as a self-handicapping strategy. It was hypothesized that although reports of anxiety may be greater when such symptoms can serve a defensive function, this effect occurs only when extrinsic incentives are low and not under conditions of high extrinsic incentive. 84 male undergraduates anticipated taking a test of intellectual abilities and either were led to believe that test anxiety has no effect on test performance or were given no particular information about the relation between test anxiety and performance. Ss were offered either $5 or $25 for obtaining the highest score on the test. Consistent with predictions, no-information Ss reported greater test anxiety before the test than did those who believed that test anxiety was unrelated to performance, but only when the extrinsic incentive for performance was low. However, these Ss did not report greater cognitive interference or exhibit lower test scores than did Ss in other conditions. It is suggested that the defensive strategy used by these Ss consisted of altering perceptions of anxiety, rather than anxiety itself. Implications of the absence of self-handicapping under high incentive conditions are discussed. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
- extrinsic incentives, use of test anxiety as self-handicapping strategy, male college students
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science