On the Correspondence Between Physiological and Nonverbal Responses: Nonverbal Behavior Accompanying Challenge and Threat

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Abstract

Little is known regarding the covariance between physiological and nonverbal responses to “stressful” situations. We argue that physiological markers are especially likely to be accompanied by psychologically-meaningful nonverbal behavior. Within “stressful” motivated performance situations, complex patterns of cardiovascular (CV) reactivity mark challenge and threat motivational states relevant to confidence. We expected the CV challenge and threat markers to be distinguished on the basis of facial and vocal confidence. In a test of this hypothesis, participants' cardiovascular (CV) responses were recorded during a videotaped social interaction. As expected, the CV challenge marker was associated with more vocal confidence and less facial confidence than the CV threat marker. These findings are related to the complexity of human responses to motivated performances.

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