Navigation Links
Carnegie Mellon Research shows self-affirmation improves problem-solving under stress

PITTSBURGHIt's no secret that stress increases your susceptibility to health problems, and it also impacts your ability to solve problems and be creative. But methods to prevent associated risks and effects have been less clear until now.

Published in PLOS ONE, new research from Carnegie Mellon University provides the first evidence that self-affirmation can protect against the damaging effects of stress on problem-solving performance. Understanding that self-affirmation the process of identifying and focusing on one's most important values boosts stressed individuals' problem-solving abilities will help guide future research and the development of educational interventions.

"An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure," said J. David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Because previous research indicated that self-affirmation may be an effective stress management approach, Creswell and his research team had college students rank-order a set of values (e.g., art, business, family and friends) in terms of their personal importance, and indicate their levels of chronic stress. Participants randomly assigned to a self-affirmation condition were asked to write a couple of sentences about why their number one ranked value was important (a standard self-affirmation exercise). All participants then had to complete a challenging problem-solving task under time pressure, which required creativity in order to generate correct solutions.

The results showed that participants who were under high levels of chronic stress during the past month had impaired problem-solving performance. In fact, they solved about 50 percent fewer problems in the task. But notably, this effect was qualified by whether participants had an opportunity to first complete the self-affirmation activity. Specifically, a brief self-affirmation was effective in eliminating the deleterious effects of chronic stress on problem-solving performance, such that chronically stressed self-affirmed participants performed under pressure at the same level as participants with low chronic stress levels.

"People under high stress can foster better problem-solving simply by taking a moment beforehand to think about something that is important to them," Creswell said. "It's an easy-to-use and portable strategy you can roll out before you enter that high pressure performance situation."


Contact: Shilo Rea
Carnegie Mellon University

Related medicine news :

1. Carnegie Mellons Marcel Just to receive Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award
2. Mindfulness meditation reduces loneliness in older adults, Carnegie Mellon study shows
3. New Carnegie Mellon research reveals exactly how the human brain adapts to injury
4. UCLA Brain Injury Research Center gets NCAA funding for research on sports concussions
5. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
6. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
7. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
8. Sexually abused boys at risk for more unsafe sex: UBC research
9. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
10. LSUHSC research finds HPV-related head & neck cancers rising, highest in middle-aged white men
11. Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... The OSHA Training Center at ... Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important reminder to employers to ... Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with ... X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color ... users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... announced today its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship ... of the Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive ... proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based company, ... for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have ... and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient ... patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have ... medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming ... are providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- Dublin ... the " Global Markets for Spectroscopy Equipment" ... This report focuses on the global market ... its applications in various applications. The report deals with ... main industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and beverage, and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , ... California -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able ... PFT devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... testing done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: