Noise annoys—But personal choice can attenuate noise effects on cardiac response reflecting effort

Johanna R. Falk, Peter M. Gollwitzer, Gabriele Oettingen, Guido H.E. Gendolla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since personal choice fosters commitment and shields action execution against potentially conflicting influences, two laboratory experiments with university students (N = 228) tested whether engaging in action by personal choice versus external assignment of task characteristics moderates the effect of irrelevant acoustic noise on cardiovascular responses reflecting effort. Participants who could personally choose the stimulus color of moderately difficult cognitive tasks were expected to be shielded against the irrelevant noise. By contrast, when the stimulus color was externally assigned, we predicted receptivity for the irrelevant noise to be high. As expected, in both experiments, participants in the assigned color condition showed stronger cardiac pre-ejection period reactivity during task performance when exposed to noise than when working in silence. On the contrary, participants who could choose the stimulus color were shielded against the noise effect on effort. These findings conceptually replicate and extend research on the action shielding effect by personal choice and hold practical implications for occupational health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14502
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • action shielding
  • cardiovascular response
  • choice
  • effort
  • noise
  • pre-ejection period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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