Effects of resource availability and importance of behavior on the experience of crowding

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According to the interference formulation, participants in a crowded setting will experience interference to the extent that behavioral goals conflict with environmental conditions. The importance of the behavioral goals directly affects not only the magnitude of the interference but also the mechanism by which people cope with interference. It was reasoned that important goals would induce a more active coping strategy in a crowded setting than in an uncrowded setting and would maintain task performance at the price of increasing crowding stress. When the behavioral goal is unimportant, decrements in task performance preclude a rise in stress. A laboratory study with 144 undergraduates confirmed the predictions. Partial confirmation was obtained for predictions involving the effects of the internal-external personality dimension (North Carolina Internal-External Scale). Results are discussed in terms of the literature on crowding and the mediating role of the type of mechanism used to cope with interference. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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