Title page for ETD etd-05162012-122627

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mcginley, Jared Joseph
Author's Email Address jaredmc@vt.edu
URN etd-05162012-122627
Title Lateralized Induction of Cardiovascular Responses: Exploring Asymmetric Autonomic Regulation
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Friedman, Bruce H. Committee Chair
Deater-Deckard, Kirby Committee Member
Harrison, David W. Committee Member
  • Cardiovascular Responses
  • Autonomic Regulation
  • Laterality
  • Gender
Date of Defense 2012-05-02
Availability unrestricted
There is clear evidence that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is lateralized at both the peripheral as well as the central levels of the nervous system. Both the vagus and the sympathetic ganglia asymmetrically innervate the sino-atrial node and the myocardium of the heart. This lateralization has also been observed in afferent as well as efferent projections to nuclei in the brainstem, hypothalamus, and amygdala. Where laterality has not been as clear is in regions of the frontal lobe dedicated to the regulation of autonomic nervous system responses. This study addressed that issue via the implementation of lateralized autonomic response-evoking tasks. With the use of cardiovascular and electrodermal measures, the present study indexed autonomic responses to lateralized stimuli. This study also explored the role of lateralization within sex as well as in relation to reported gender identity. The findings lend support to the right hemisphere as serving a dominant role in regulating sympathetic nervous system activity, while lending less conclusive support for lateralization of parasympathetic nervous system regulation. Men demonstrated greater lateralization for sympathetic nervous system responses across several different metrics of autonomic indices. The exploration of gender variables in relation to lateralization of autonomic responses was generally not supported.
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