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Copyright 1997 by the Psychology in Spain, 1997, Vol. 1. No 1, 156-165
Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos

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Interactive effect of self-efficacy and incentive value on peripheral physiological reactivity in the performance of a cognitive task. The aim of the present experiment was to determine whether both self-efficacy and incentive value exert their effects on autonomic and somatic physiological reactivity in an interactive manner. 32 subjects were assigned to 4 groups resulting from combining two conditions of self-efficacy manipulation (high and low) with two conditions of incentive value manipulation (high and low). All the subjects completed a computer-aided word-chaining task, which involved verbal responses. 4 physiological variables were measured: respiratory and heart rate, electrodermal resistance and electromyography of frontalis muscle. Results suggest that both self-efficacy and incentive value partially determine autonomic reactivity manifested in situations of active coping, exerting their effect interactively. It also appears that incentive value modulates the functional relationship between self-efficacy and autonomic reactivity. However, these cognitive variables appear to determine somatic activity (in this study, represented by frontalis electromyography) in a non-interactive manner.

El presente experimento tenía por objeto verificar el supuesto de interacción entre la autoeficacia y el valor del incentivo sobre la reactividad fisiológica periférica (autonómica y somática). 32 sujetos fueron asignados a los 4 grupos experimentales que surgen de combinar 2 condiciones de manipulación de la autoeficacia (alta o baja) con 2 condiciones de manipulación del valor del incentivo (alta o baja). Todos los sujetos efectuaron una tarea de concatenación de palabras asistida por ordenador y que implicaba respuestas verbales. Se registraron 4 variables fisiológicas: frecuencia respiratoria, frecuencia cardiaca, resistencia electrodermal y actividad mioeléctrica frontal. Los resultados sugieren que la autoeficacia y el valor del incentivo determinan, en parte, la reactividad autonómica manifestada ante una situación de afrontamiento activo, produciendo su efecto de manera interactiva. Ello parece indicar que el valor del incentivo tiene un papel modulador de la relación autoeficacia-reactividad autonómica. Sin embargo, sobre la actividad somática, representada por la electromiografía frontal, tales variables parecen ejercer un efecto no interactivo.

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The original Spanish version of this paper has been previously published in Psicothema, 1996, Vol. 8 No 3, 491-505
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*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Antoni Sanz Ruiz. Unitat de Psicología Básica, Dpto. de Psicología de la Educac. Facultad de Psicología Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Apartado 29. 08193 Bellaterra. Barcelona Spain.

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