Effect of psychosocial variables on maximum acceptable weight of lift



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Texas Tech University


The objectives of this study were (l) to determine the effects of personality type in conjunction with social facilitation effects on the psychophysically-determined maximum acceptable weight of lift (MAWL), and 2) to establish guidelines for the psychophysical approach which control for the effects of psychosocial factors.

To accomplish this, a laboratory study was conducted using 15 male subjects classified as Type A personalities (aggressive, impatient) and 15 Type B subjects (passive, patient). Following a training period, the subjects performed 5 psychophysical lifting tasks consisting of a floor to 30 inch lift using various frequencies of lift. (For the social facilitation manipulation, the subject lifted the box under 3 conditions: alone (box lowered automatically), with a confederate of similar physical ability lowering the box, and with a confederate of superior physical ability lowering the box^ The confederate conditions were introduced under the guise that the lowering apparatus was broken.

Results indicated that Type A subjects worked at a higher percentage of their physical work capacity and selected heavier MAWLs than Type B subjects. Type A subjects required significantly less time deciding their MAWL, and made fewer weight adjustments in terms of decreasing box weight, than Type B subjects. Significant social facilitation effects were not obtained, nor was there a significant personality type x social condition interaction.