Anspannung: Introduction to concept and quantification of mental strain exemplified on data taken in five countries

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Authors

In Dükers action theory Anspannung, which we translated as “psychological tension” (PT), is described as a directly experienced valid indicator for the extent of mental strain. In German-speaking regions the Category Partitioning technique (CP) has proven to be a useful method for accurately quantifying the experienced PT. Outside Germany, however, the concept of PT and the CP technique for measuring it have found little resonance, as it seemed that the central terms could not be meaningfully translated into English. To challenge these language barriers, test the applicability and usefulness of the PT concept, and evaluate the CP scaling method, we used the CP technique to quantify the level of PT required by 32 imagined everyday situations. To do this we adapted descriptions of the everyday situations from the German into English, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese, and enrolled N = 158 participants from five countries (Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan). The results show a remarkable agreement between the data collected in the five cohorts. The experimental data point to the universality of the experience of mental load in culturally and linguistically diverse societies. They also point to the need to design scaling techniques so that respondents can describe their immediate sensations as they would in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100098
JournalMethods in Psychology
Volume7
Number of pages10
ISSN2590-2601
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors

Thanks to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences for financial support of the presented study. LMW was supported by NSERC of Canada and SM was supported by a JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Research (Exploratory), No.20K20666. Some parts of this study were presented at the Fechner Day 2013 in Freiburg, Germany (Müller et al., 2013) and the International Congress of Psychology 2016) in Yokohama, Japan (Sakaki et al., 2016).

    Research areas

  • Anspannung, Category partitioning, Cultural comparisons, Mental strain, Psychological tension, Psychophysical scaling
  • Business psychology