Time pressure and attention allocation effect on upper limb motion steadiness

Sicong Liu, Robert C. Eklund, Gershon Tenenbaum

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5 Scopus citations


Following ironic process theory (IPT), the authors aimed at investigating how attentional allocation affects participants upper limb motion steadiness under low and high levels of mental load. A secondary purpose was to examine the validity of skin conductance level in measuring perception of pressure. The study consisted of 1 within-participant factor (i.e., phase: baseline, test) and 4 between-participant factors (i.e., gender: male, female; mental load: fake time constraints, no time constraints; attention: positive, suppressive; order: baseline→→→test, test→→baseline). Eighty college students (40 men and 40 women, Mage = 20.20 years, SDage = 1.52 years) participated in the study. Gender-stratified random assignment was employed in a 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 mixed experimental design. The findings generally support IPT but its predictions on motor performance under mental load may not be entirely accurate. Unlike men, women's performance was not susceptible to manipulations of mental load and attention allocation. The validity of skin conductance readings as an index of pressure perception was called into question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • choking under pressure
  • gender difference
  • ironic process
  • skin conductance


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