|M.Sc Student||Lubasz Sharon|
|Subject||The Influence of Others' Emotions on Performance: A|
Question of Valence Versus Arousal
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Anat Rafaeli|
|Full Thesis text|
This study investigates whether it is discrete emotions (e.g., displays of anger) that hinder performance or the mere presence of arousal (e.g., displays of enthusiasm), while offering new insights on the mechanisms that come into play in the process.
The study examines the effects of three types of vocal stimuli on cognitive performance: (i) An affect-free stimuli, which provided the control and baseline condition, included requests that were emotionally striped and worded to be absent of any emotion or arousal. (ii) An anger stimuli, in which customers presented the same requests as in condition (i) but in a high arousal and angry fashion. (iii) An excitement group, in which customers presented the same requests in a highly aroused, overenthusiastic fashion, portraying a distinctly different emotion than anger but with the same level of arousal.
Data was collected using a simulated computerized customer contact center tailored for this experiment. Each of the 90 Undergraduate engineering students were asked to act as customer-service agents and were presented with Voice-Mail messages that they were expected to summarize for future organizational use. The independent variable was therefore the nature of the emotion in the presented request: high arousal - negative (anger); high arousal - positive (enthusiasm); or low arousal (control). The dependent variables were the performance of the task (data entry) and the recuperation time required after performing the task.
Results show that the mere presence of arousal was sufficient to adversely influence task performance. However the effects of anger were fundamentally different, not only creating a detrimental effect on performance but a cumulative one as well, such that people attending to angry calls had increasingly higher recuperation time.