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A method to induce stress in human subjects in online research environments

Almazrouei, Mohammed A; Morgan, Ruth M; Dror, Itiel E; (2022) A method to induce stress in human subjects in online research environments. Behavior Research Methods 10.3758/s13428-022-01915-3. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This paper presents a method to induce stress in human subjects during online participation in research studies without the presence of researchers. In this study, participants in the stress-inducing condition (N = 52, 44%) were asked to answer general knowledge and mathematical questions which people often get wrong, and did so under time pressure as well as receiving feedback. In contrast, participants in the control condition (N = 66, 56%) did not have time pressure or receive feedback. The stress manipulation was found to be effective, as the reported state anxiety and visual analog scale on stress scores were higher for the stress group than for the non-stress group (both findings, p < 0.001). Consistent findings were found when accounting for trait anxiety as a moderator, with the exception of the state anxiety levels in high trait anxiety group. This stressing method combines the established stress conditions of uncontrollability (such as time pressures) and social evaluative threats (such as negative feedback). In addition, the method contains specific measures (such as a commitment statement and attention check questions) to enhance the internal validity by preventing and detecting cheating or random responses. This method can be deployed through any commonly available online software. It offers a simple and cost-effective way to collect data online - which fits the increasing need to carry out research in virtual and online environments.

Type: Article
Title: A method to induce stress in human subjects in online research environments
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3758/s13428-022-01915-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-022-01915-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: COVID-19, Crowdsourcing, Human subjects, Online study, Stress
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153097
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