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Keywords:

  • Gender;
  • Incentive value;
  • Cardiovascular response;
  • Effort;
  • Active coping;
  • Motivation intensity theory

Abstract

Participants were presented an easy or difficult mental addition task and led to believe that they could win a traditionally masculine incentive by meeting a certain performance standard. As expected, blood pressure and heart rate responses during the work period were stronger under difficult conditions than easy ones among men but low under both difficulty conditions among women. Findings support the suggestion from a conceptual analysis grounded in motivation intensity theory that gender differences in cardiovascular response could be partially understood in terms of effort processes that occur where men and women place different value on available performance incentives.