Expressive tendencies and physiological response to stress

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Assessed the effects of natural expressive tendencies on physiological response to stress. 76 male undergraduates were unobtrusively observed while watching a stressor videotape. On the basis of the Ss' facial responsiveness to the film, a group of 23 natural expressers and 22 natural inhibitors were selected and exposed to a threat of shock situation during which heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance, and facial expressions were monitored. In accord with the discharge model of emotion, natural inhibitors were less facially expressive and more physiologically reactive to the shock threat than were natural expressers. Results also demonstrate that overt expressivity was stable over time and situation. On personality measures, natural expressers scored significantly higher on A. Mehrabian's (see PA, Vol 49:9131), empathic tendency scale, supporting the efficacy of this paper-and-pencil instrument as a measure of nonverbal responsiveness. The 2 groups did not differ on the Janis Test of Self-Esteem, Eysenck Personality Inventory, and Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. Results are discussed in terms of the discharge model as a descriptive metaphor and not a causal theory. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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