Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening, Heart Rate Variability, and Emotion Regulation
Loveless, James P.
Recent findings have uncovered another layer of complexity with regards to the psychophysiology of emotion. Higher resting blood pressures have been shown to be related to increased difficulties with appraising and responding to emotionally laden stimuli. This phenomenon suggests an intimate link between cardiovascular functioning and emotion regulation, and has been termed cardiovascular emotional dampening. Much is unknown about cardiovascular emotional dampening, including its physiological underpinnings and its relationship to emotion regulation. The present study seeks to replicate previous findings from the literature, and explore the relationships between cardiovascular emotional damping, heart rate variability, and emotion regulation via general response style. Eighty-eight (52 women and 36 men) healthy undergraduate students were asked to complete a series of self-report inventories related to state affect, alexithymia, behavioral avoidance, and behavioral approach. They were then asked to complete an initial 10 minute baseline recording of heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Following the recording, participants completed an emotion recognition protocol which consisted of a facial emotion recognition task and a sentence based emotion recognition task. After the emotion recognition protocol was completed, participants completed a final 10 minute recording of heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Women performed better than men on the emotion recognition task. Resting diastolic and systolic blood pressures were unrelated to emotion recognition accuracy. Moreover, emotion recognition accuracy could not be predicted from resting diastolic blood pressure, resting systolic blood pressure, self-reported positive affectivity, self-reported negative affectivity, or alexithymia regardless of sex. Likewise, heart rate variability, behavioral avoidance, and behavioral approach were unrelated to emotion recognition accuracy. Emotion recognition accuracy could not be predicted with the inclusion of the additional three aforementioned variables. The findings of this study highlight the subtle nature of the phenomenon, and the need for more refined research methodologies. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
Loveless, James P.. (January 2015). Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening, Heart Rate Variability, and Emotion Regulation (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4918.)
Loveless, James P.. Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening, Heart Rate Variability, and Emotion Regulation. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2015. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4918. February 23, 2019.
Loveless, James P., “Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening, Heart Rate Variability, and Emotion Regulation” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2015).
Loveless, James P.. Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening, Heart Rate Variability, and Emotion Regulation [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2015.
East Carolina University