Perception of time pressure impairs performance

February 11th, 2009 - 12:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 11 (ANI): If you feel that you don”t have enough time to finish a task in hand, then chances are your finished work won”t be up to the mark, says a new study, which claims that it’’s the perception of time pressure that impairs performance.
In a first of its kind study, Michael DeDonno, a doctoral student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University looked at how perceived time pressure affected the performance of 163 subjects in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT).
IGT is a popular psychological assessment tool that is used to investigate the effect of perceived time pressure on a learning-based task.
“Research has shown that it’’s not necessarily the time pressure, but it’’s the perception of that time pressure that affects you. If you feel you don”t have enough time to do something, it’’s going to affect you,” said DeDonno.
For the study, he divided the participants into two groups: an experimental group that was informed the time allotted to perform the task was insufficient and the control group, which was told they had typically sufficient time to complete the task.
It was found that participants who were advised the time was insufficient performed worse than those who were told they had enough time, regardless of the actual time allotted.
“If I told you that you didn”t have enough time, your performance was low regardless if you had ample time or not. If you were told you had enough time, in both scenarios, they out performed those who were told they didn”t,” said DeDonno.
He said that there are plenty of real-world benefits to understanding the effects of perceived time pressure on decision-making performance.
He cited project team members who perceived a high degree of time pressure had lower job satisfaction.
He also noted standardized tests, like the ACT or LSAT, have a high rate of test anxiety by test takers due mostly to time constraints.
He is planning to further study if a perception of time being insufficient by HMO physicians lead to inappropriate medications or an increase in diagnostic error.
Although it’’s still not known why perceived time pressure could impair performance, DeDonno said that it’’s possible to combat it.
He said: “Decision-making can be emotion based, keep your emotions in check. Have confidence in the amount of time you do have to do things. Try to focus on the task and not the time. We don”t control time, but we can control our perception. It’’s amazing what you can do with a limited amount of time.
“Time is relevant. Just have the confidence with the time you”re given. I tell my students ”Do the best you can in the time allotted. When it ends, it ends.””
The study was published in a recent issue of Judgment and Decision Making. (ANI)

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