Participants displaying high versus low levels of experiential avoidance as assessed by the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (Hayes, Strosahl, et aI., 2004) were compared in their reactions to and performance on a challenging perceptual-motor task. Participants were offered incentives for sorting colored straws into different colored containers as quickly as possible during the simultaneous induction of unpleasant sensations (dizziness, blurred vision, disorientation) by the wearing of "drunk goggles" during task performance. High avoidant participants reported being more likely to engage in catastrophizing and to be distressed by sensations induced during the task, despite, as expected, apparently minimizing contact with such experiences by sorting significantly fewer straws than their low avoidant counterparts. The findings are related to similar research consistent with the conceptualization of experiential avoidance as a functional response class supporting diverse forms of dysfunctional behavior and human suffering.
Zettle, Robert D.; Petersen, Connie L.; Hocker, Tanya R.; and Provines, Jessica L.
"Responding to a Challenging Perceptual-Motor Task as a Function of Level of Experimental Avoidance,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 57
, Article 5.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol57/iss1/5