The negative feedback dysregulation effect: losses of motor control in response to negative feedback

Cognition and Emotion 33 (3):536-547 (2018)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTNegative feedback has paradoxical features to it. This form of feedback can have informational value under some circumstances, but it can also threaten the ego, potentially upsetting behaviour as a result. To investigate possible consequences of the latter type, two experiments presented positive or negative feedback within a sequence-prediction task that could not be solved. Following feedback, participants had to control their behaviours as effectively as possible in a motor control task. Relative to positive feedback, negative feedback undermined control in a manner suggesting emotional upset. These reactions lasted for at least three seconds and were especially pronounced among people reporting that they typically lose control in the context of their negative emotions. The findings document a novel form of behavioural dysregulation that occurs in response to negative feedback while also highlighting the utility of motor control perspectives on self...

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Michael Robinson
University of Southern California

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