Time Pressure Undermines Performance More Under Avoidance Than Approach Motivation

Marieke Roskes*, Andrew J. Elliot, Bernard A. Nijstad, Carsten K W De Dreu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Four experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that performance is particularly undermined by time pressure when people are avoidance motivated. The results supported this hypothesis across three different types of tasks, including those well suited and those ill suited to the type of information processing evoked by avoidance motivation. We did not find evidence that stress-related emotions were responsible for the observed effect. Avoidance motivation is certainly necessary and valuable in the self-regulation of everyday behavior. However, our results suggest that given its nature and implications, it seems best that avoidance motivation is avoided in situations that involve (time) pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-813
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • avoidance motivation
  • cognitive load
  • cognitive resources
  • performance
  • time pressure


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