The effects of acute stress on the calibration of persistence

Karolina M. Lempert, Joseph T. McGuire, Danielle B. Hazeltine, Elizabeth Phelps, Joseph W. Kable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

People frequently fail to wait for delayed rewards after choosing them. These preference reversals are sometimes thought to reflect self-control failure. Other times, however, continuing to wait for a delayed reward may be counterproductive (e.g., when reward timing uncertainty is high). Research has demonstrated that people can calibrate how long to wait for rewards in a given environment. Thus, the role of self-control might be to integrate information about the environment to flexibly adapt behavior, not merely to promote waiting. Here we tested effects of acute stress, which has been shown to tax control processes, on persistence, and the calibration of persistence, in young adult human participants. Half the participants (n = 60) performed a task in which persistence was optimal, and the other half (n = 60) performed a task in which it was optimal to quit waiting for reward soon after each trial began. Each participant completed the task either after cold pressor stress or no stress. Stress did not influence persistence or optimal calibration of persistence. Nevertheless, an exploratory analysis revealed an “inverted-U” relationship between cortisol increase and performance in the stress groups, suggesting that choosing the adaptive waiting policy may be facilitated with some stress and impaired with severe stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Stress
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Fingerprint

Reward
Calibration
Uncertainty
Hydrocortisone
Young Adult
Taxation
Research
Self-Control

Keywords

  • Acute stress
  • Cortisol
  • Delay of gratification
  • Impulsivity
  • Inverted U
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

The effects of acute stress on the calibration of persistence. / Lempert, Karolina M.; McGuire, Joseph T.; Hazeltine, Danielle B.; Phelps, Elizabeth; Kable, Joseph W.

In: Neurobiology of Stress, Vol. 8, 01.02.2018, p. 1-9.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lempert, Karolina M. ; McGuire, Joseph T. ; Hazeltine, Danielle B. ; Phelps, Elizabeth ; Kable, Joseph W. / The effects of acute stress on the calibration of persistence. In: Neurobiology of Stress. 2018 ; Vol. 8. pp. 1-9.
@article{64ab3892bf294da2995bb3f12d869f1d,
title = "The effects of acute stress on the calibration of persistence",
abstract = "People frequently fail to wait for delayed rewards after choosing them. These preference reversals are sometimes thought to reflect self-control failure. Other times, however, continuing to wait for a delayed reward may be counterproductive (e.g., when reward timing uncertainty is high). Research has demonstrated that people can calibrate how long to wait for rewards in a given environment. Thus, the role of self-control might be to integrate information about the environment to flexibly adapt behavior, not merely to promote waiting. Here we tested effects of acute stress, which has been shown to tax control processes, on persistence, and the calibration of persistence, in young adult human participants. Half the participants (n = 60) performed a task in which persistence was optimal, and the other half (n = 60) performed a task in which it was optimal to quit waiting for reward soon after each trial began. Each participant completed the task either after cold pressor stress or no stress. Stress did not influence persistence or optimal calibration of persistence. Nevertheless, an exploratory analysis revealed an “inverted-U” relationship between cortisol increase and performance in the stress groups, suggesting that choosing the adaptive waiting policy may be facilitated with some stress and impaired with severe stress.",
keywords = "Acute stress, Cortisol, Delay of gratification, Impulsivity, Inverted U, Persistence",
author = "Lempert, {Karolina M.} and McGuire, {Joseph T.} and Hazeltine, {Danielle B.} and Elizabeth Phelps and Kable, {Joseph W.}",
year = "2018",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.11.001",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "1--9",
journal = "Neurobiology of Stress",
issn = "2352-2895",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The effects of acute stress on the calibration of persistence

AU - Lempert, Karolina M.

AU - McGuire, Joseph T.

AU - Hazeltine, Danielle B.

AU - Phelps, Elizabeth

AU - Kable, Joseph W.

PY - 2018/2/1

Y1 - 2018/2/1

N2 - People frequently fail to wait for delayed rewards after choosing them. These preference reversals are sometimes thought to reflect self-control failure. Other times, however, continuing to wait for a delayed reward may be counterproductive (e.g., when reward timing uncertainty is high). Research has demonstrated that people can calibrate how long to wait for rewards in a given environment. Thus, the role of self-control might be to integrate information about the environment to flexibly adapt behavior, not merely to promote waiting. Here we tested effects of acute stress, which has been shown to tax control processes, on persistence, and the calibration of persistence, in young adult human participants. Half the participants (n = 60) performed a task in which persistence was optimal, and the other half (n = 60) performed a task in which it was optimal to quit waiting for reward soon after each trial began. Each participant completed the task either after cold pressor stress or no stress. Stress did not influence persistence or optimal calibration of persistence. Nevertheless, an exploratory analysis revealed an “inverted-U” relationship between cortisol increase and performance in the stress groups, suggesting that choosing the adaptive waiting policy may be facilitated with some stress and impaired with severe stress.

AB - People frequently fail to wait for delayed rewards after choosing them. These preference reversals are sometimes thought to reflect self-control failure. Other times, however, continuing to wait for a delayed reward may be counterproductive (e.g., when reward timing uncertainty is high). Research has demonstrated that people can calibrate how long to wait for rewards in a given environment. Thus, the role of self-control might be to integrate information about the environment to flexibly adapt behavior, not merely to promote waiting. Here we tested effects of acute stress, which has been shown to tax control processes, on persistence, and the calibration of persistence, in young adult human participants. Half the participants (n = 60) performed a task in which persistence was optimal, and the other half (n = 60) performed a task in which it was optimal to quit waiting for reward soon after each trial began. Each participant completed the task either after cold pressor stress or no stress. Stress did not influence persistence or optimal calibration of persistence. Nevertheless, an exploratory analysis revealed an “inverted-U” relationship between cortisol increase and performance in the stress groups, suggesting that choosing the adaptive waiting policy may be facilitated with some stress and impaired with severe stress.

KW - Acute stress

KW - Cortisol

KW - Delay of gratification

KW - Impulsivity

KW - Inverted U

KW - Persistence

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85034839339&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85034839339&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.11.001

DO - 10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.11.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85034839339

VL - 8

SP - 1

EP - 9

JO - Neurobiology of Stress

JF - Neurobiology of Stress

SN - 2352-2895

ER -