Perfectionism and effort-related cardiac activity: Do perfectionists try harder?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kari Eddington (Creator)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Do perfectionists try harder? Previous research on perfectionism and effort has used self-report items and task performance as indicators of effort. The current study investigated whether individual differences in perfectionism predicted effort-related cardiac activity during a mental effort task. Based on past research that suggests adaptive perfectionism is associated with higher effort, it was hypothesized that self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) would predict increased effort on the task. One hundred and eleven college students completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS) and a self-paced parity task in which they received a small cash reward (3 cents) for each correct response. Impedance cardiography was used to assess autonomic reactivity, and regression models tested whether SOP and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) explained autonomic reactivity. Overall, participants showed both sympathetic (faster pre-ejection period; PEP) and parasympathetic activation (elevated high-frequency heart rate variability; HRV) during the task, reflecting higher effort and engagement. Contrary to predictions, individual differences in perfectionism did not moderate cardiac reactivity. These findings draw attention to the importance of assessing physiological components of effort and motivation directly rather than inferring them from task performance or self-reported effort.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
perfectionism, effort, motivation, impedance cardiography

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