Psychoemotional peculiarities of students-participants of search-and-reburial group «Eterna»

Associate Professor, PhD S.A. Aitkulov1
Dr.Biol., Professor N.V. Mamylina1
Dr.Sc.Psych., Professor V.I. Dolgova1
1South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University, Chelyabinsk

Keywords: psychoemotional states, search-and-reburial activity, emotional stress, overstress, patriotic education, individual minute, anxiety, extraversion, introversion.

Introduction. In the psychophysical research practice recording of the individual minute length is widely used. The human ability to orientate oneself properly and to organize his or her behaviour in compliance with the progress of time is one of the most important factor of search activity success. Different people are differently prone to anxiety, i.e. to perceptivity of various types of stress, including emotional stress involved in search activity. That’s why the universal theory of anxiety should also include the definition of anxiety as a personal characteristic of a human. Individual differences in trait anxiety are deduced from the frequency and intensity of the display of the state of anxiety in a time frame. Individuals with high rates of anxiety are more prone to suffering from increased anxiety in the situations with a threat for their lives, while such situations are rather likely to happen in search activity. On the hole, situation-specific criteria of anxiety as properties are more reliable in the aspect of forecasting of appearance and increasing of anxiety condition in stress situations of particular kinds than ones of the general trait anxiety. In our opinion, the level of state anxiety forecasts deterioration of search activity more precisely than the value of the students’ general state anxiety. But individual differences in propensity for the anxiety condition display are significantly situational, i.e. they can appear in one class of situation and not appear in the other. [6]

The research results [1, 2, 3, 4, 7] provide evidence of obvious variety of physiological and behavioural display of emotional stress both for humans and animals. In similar stressful situations one can see clear individual differences in a human’s immunity to and proclivity for disorder of some physiological functions. Obviously, one of the factors specifying individual variations of emotional stress development is personal peculiarities of a human. One of the personal characteristics directly connected to a human’s behaviour in a stressful situation is anxiety, which predisposes an individual to perception of the wide range of objectively safe circumstances as ones containing a thread and thus prompting to react with alarm states. The intensity of those states doesn’t correspond with the value of the objective threat. Appearance of defensive reflex within the cognitive activity leading to creative initiative suppressionis considered to be connected to the state anxiety factor.

According to the literature analysis, extroverts tend to have a considerably high speed of completing various mnestic tasks as well involved in search activity that apparently reflects in the high speed internal clock discovered by us in the form of a shorter individual minute. They also tend to shift from one type of activity to another. During search activity they are characterised by an active strategy, they start to carry out some manipulations more quickly, but they make mistakes while conducting their activities, they are more absent-minded and impulsive.

The psychology data highlight the fact that the subjective time perception significantly differs from the objective time flow. In the ontogenetic sense young people have a bigger focus on the future, while for the elderly the past is more important. Some principles of the perception of time are recognized in the psychology. The stuffed time line law says that the more stuffed (or divided into small intervals) the time line is, thesubjectively longer it is considered to be.

Research methods and organisation

The goal of the research is to study how the individual minute depends on the anxiety level and the index of students’ extra- and introversion in the situation of the search activity. The research was held at the High School of Physical Education and Health of South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University in the number of 15 people (18-19 years old), being members of the search group “Eterna”.

As part of the study the Individual minute (IM) test is used in two variants: 1) counting by a test person during 60 seconds under the control of a stop-watch, provided that the test person tried to stay within one minute of the astronomical time; 2) recording of the test person’s time of counting with a test-watch. The first variant implies subjective estimation of the metric second, the second one – the metric time value of the objective second. Every change was repeated three times, after that the average value was found.Psychological measures of the level of state and trait anxiety were determined using the method of Spielberger-Khanin, indices of extra- and introversion – using the test of Eysenck (A-form). The ability of long-time holding of motor response high pace was also estimated using the tapping test in the quickest possible mode of its carrying out[5]. Statistical processing of the results was carried out using theExcel 2000 и STATISTICA 8.0programs. Statistical relations were studied with the help of the non-parametric tests of Manna-Whitney and Spearman (rs).

The group of the students under investigation involved in search activity was divided into three subgroups considering the anxiety level: with high, average and low indices of both state (during search activity) and trait anxieties.

Results and discussion. The students with high level of anxiety are characterised with a larger quantity of countoffs per minute and a smaller value of the subjective minute (table 1).

Table 1. Value of the “individual minute” in different subgroups of students during search activity

Anxiety level (trait and state)

Quantity of students

Test Individual minute

Counting during 60 s

(quantity of figures)

Time of counting till 60 (s)

High

5

73.8 ± 6.2

58.6 + 4.2

Average

8

61.4 ± 4.9

72.5 ± 5.4

Low

2

53.5 ± 4.4

69.1 ± 5.3

In the group of highly anxious students a high level of neuroticism correlating to the level of the state anxiety is found out(rs = 0.77; р<0.001). The interrelations between the level of the students’ trait and state anxiety and the results of the individual minute test were authentic only in the high and low anxiety level groups.

The most important changes of the dynamics and the quantity of strikes while completing the tapping test were observed in the group of students with a high level of anxiety during search activity, characterised with decrease of the subjective minute value compared to the metric one (according to the IM test).

Among the group of students under our investigation we detected three people with a high level of state anxiety due to much lower trait anxiety. Based on the conversation with them we found out that it is due to the increased sense of duty and patriotism they experience the increased level of anxiety during search activity.

All the students were typed with the help of the questionnaire of Eysenck. Extroverts in the number of 10 and introverts in the number of 5 were educed among them. People with 12-18 scores were qualified as extroverts, while those with 4-11 scores – as introverts [5].

According to the test “Individual minute” the students-extroverts were found out to have time underestimating, they are characterised with higher speed of their internal clock. It is known that intro- and extroverts are distinguished by the activation level (as well considering the EEG-values) and by their adaptive capabilities[4, 6, 7]. Extroverts, demonstrating their obvious time organising lability, must tend to adapt better to the environmental factors, including search activity.

But it should be noted that the students-extroverts involved in search activity got tired more quickly, decreased their search potential and physical capability.

Tapping is the set of quick similar movements (usually strikes of fingers against a table surface). Tapping is called “structural” if there are pauses and a hand change happens within the set. If the structural set repeats cyclically, this kind of tapping is called rhythmic. Simple and complex unimanual and bimanual types of tapping are distinguished among the types of rhythmic tapping. In the simple rhythm separate strikes follow each other after equal intervals, while in the complex one they form groups of “clusters” and “patterns” which form the minimum periodically repeated unit of rhythm – its beat.

We registered tapping within the accuracy of one millisecond with the help of a computer in terms of the sequence of moments of press and release of the buttons fixed symmetrically on the table relating to the hands of the person under test (mobility of the hands in wrist joints was not limited). The movements were being carried out by the test person in the fastest possible pace. This pace was chosen as it demands to build the simplest system able to do a required movement without quality loss. All the extra functional components are not required, because although the movement involving them would be better to some extent, it would be done more slowly.

We registered the following: the higher the students’ level of anxiety the more movements they do. In the course of completing the tapping test the pace of movements decreased every 10 seconds that is the proof of occurring fatigue condition.  The exception was represented by the group of students with a high level of anxiety. The pace of their movements was varying during the whole time of proceeding that can be explained by their mental state instability and an increased level of mental stress, to a small extent causing hand movement randomness. It is known that the speed of completing rhythmic tapping increases quickly from the age of 4 till the age of 12, and after this period it becomes nearly equal to that very parameter of the adults [4].

The most evident changes of the strike dynamics while completing a tapping-test as well as the maximum number of strikes occurred for every 10 seconds of the test on the highly anxious students with detected positive correlation of these indices (r = 0.64, p<0.01).These are students with an average level of state and trait anxiety who are characterised with a more smooth character of the tapping test dynamics line.

Based on the results of our investigations it can be claimed that students-introverts with a high level of anxiety are more vulnerable during search activity. We estimate their behaviour pattern as passive with some elements of external inhibition, though such students are concerned inside and experience discomfort they don’t try to ask the people around them for help, they have difficulties focusing on different elements of search movements. Eventually, they spend a lot of time supposed to be spent on preparing for particular search actions with minimum efficiency, and thus they are not always absolutely satisfied with the results of their activity.

For example, if a student was prepared to the difficulties of search activity, it would seem to him or her that the shift passed quickly and imperceptibly. But if he or she experienced intense emotional tension and had a range of difficulties while conducting a search, it would seem to him or her that the shift lasted for a long time.

Conclusion

The perception of time intervals and the estimation of them correspondingly depend on the functional condition of a human, especially in the pychoemotional sphere. The time full of positive emotions so to say decreases because of emotional stress, while the time full of negative emotions prolongs, that is formed as the law of emotionally determined estimation of time.

The important segment of the superior psychological functions is serial organisation of movements and actions – the functional component necessary for ensuring completely different types of human substantive work. The indices of success in accomplishing this functional component prove the dependence of the individual minute on the level of anxiety and the index of extra- and introversion of the students in the situation of search activity.

The study of psychophysical peculiarities of the nature of the students involved in search activity will contribute to more effective selection while forming search groups, and,therefore, to more productive activity.

References

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Abstract

The study was designed to test and analyze the psychoemotional states of university activists of the search-and-reburial group exposed to high emotions and stress on the bodily systems on the whole and nervous system in particular. Objective of the study was to obtain the anxiety, extra- and introversion test rates by the Individual Minute Test. Sampled for the study by the Physical Education and Life Safety Department of the CSPU were the 18-19 year old students (n=15) of the university group Eterna – which mission is to find and rebury the remains of soldiers on the WWII battlefields within the Pskov Oblast. The Individual Minute Test was used in the following two versions: 60s count with time control, with the subject required to fit into one minute; and the time taken by the count from 1 to 60. We also applied the Spielberger-Khanin State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) test to rate the state and trait anxiety; Eysenck Personality Questionnaire tests to rate the extra-/ introversion (Form A); top-intensity tapping test to rate the motor reactivity and endurance; and the Mann-Whitney U- test to analyze the statistical correlations of the test data arrays. Further studies of the students’ psychophysiology are needed to facilitate selections to the university search-and-reburial group for success of their mission.