Personal Need for Structure, the Einstellung Task, and the Effects of Stress

We examine the relationship between the personality variable of Personal Need for Structure (PNS) and problem solving on the Einstellung water-jar task. The Einstellung task was administered under stressful and nonstressful conditions. Results from 172 participants showed the predicted interaction between PNS and experimentally-induced stress: Participants higher in PNS weremore likely to develop a mental set under stressful conditions, while no significant relationship was found between PNS and set development under nonstressful conditions. PNS was not related to perseveration on the Einstellung task. regardless of experimental condition. These findings are consistent with recent research on the importance of contextual activation of personality. © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved