Title page for ETD etd-41998-16146

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rhodes, Robert D. III
Author's Email Address rdr@vt.edu
URN etd-41998-16146
Title Reactivity and Recovery of Physiological and Neuropsychological Variables as a Function of Hostility
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Crawford, Helen J.
Jones, Russell T.
Harrison, David W. Committee Chair
  • Neuropsychology
  • emotion
  • hostility
  • cardiovascular reactivity
Date of Defense 1998-01-22
Availability unrestricted
This experiment tested three hypotheses regarding right cerebral involvement in hostility and physiological arousal. First, replication of previous research indicating heightened physiological responding to stress among high hostile individuals was attempted. Second, high hostile individuals were predicted to an increased tendency toward right hemisphere dominance following exposure to a stressor. Third, high hostile individuals were expected to maintain their physiological arousal and shift in cerebral laterality longer than the low-hostile comparison group.

Low- and high-hostile participants (25 males per group, drawn from the undergraduate Psychology pool) were identified using the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (CMHS). Physiological measures (SBP, DBP, HR) were recorded at baseline, as were results from a dichotic listening procedure. Participants were then administered the cold-pressor procedure, and physiological recordings were taken again. Dichotic listening procedures were then administered 3 consecutive times to monitor for shifts in cerebral laterality. After the final dichotic listening procedure, physiological measures were taken once again to determine recovery rates.

Results did not support the a priori hypotheses. Specifically, low-hostile individuals were consistently higher on the physiological measures when compared to the high-hostiles. The predicted maintenance of increased physiological arousal was also not supported by the data. Neuropsychological measures also failed to differentiate between the groups, and failed to demonstrate the predicted shift in cerebral laterality.

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