Environmental effects on cognitive and affective states: The experiential time sampling approach

Suzanne Prescott1, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi2, Ron Graef2
1Governors State University, United States
2University of Chicago, United States
Cite this article:  Prescott, S., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Graef, R. (1981). Environmental effects on cognitive and affective states: The experiential time sampling approach. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 9(1), 23-32.

Volume 9 Issue 1 | e310 | Published: February 1981 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1981.9.1.23

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Twenty professionals, half men and half women, half above and half below the age of thirty, were signaled at random during their normal waking hours by an electronic paging device or "beeper" over the course of a week. Self reports on seven cognitive and affective measures were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance. Environment was demonstrated to have a highly significant impact on respondents' reports. Age and sex within age group effects as well as significant interactions between environment and age and sex appeared. A characteristic profile of life experiences of professionals emerged in which there appeared significant contrasts in cognitive and affective states, particularly at home and work, but in recreation and transportation as well. The research is introduced as a new method for examining personality in the normal range of environments which persons typically inhabit. The results serve to reinforce the belief that personality is not expressed consistently across environments, and underscores the limitations of measuring personality in a single and often atypical testing situation. The introduction of this new method provides some promise for advancing personality research through providing a more representative picture of persons' typical experience than has been possible previously.
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