Title page for ETD etd-121599-125801

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Williamson, John Bonar
Author's Email Address jowilli9@vt.edu
URN etd-121599-125801
Title Differential Efficts of Hostility on Frontal Lobe Performance: A dual task approach with Fluency and Cardiovascular Regulation
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Harrison, David W. Committee Chair
Eisler, Richard M. Committee Member
Scarpa-Friedman, Angela Committee Member
  • fluency
  • hostility
  • cardiovascular regulation
  • cerebral lateralization
  • dual task
  • stress
  • asymmetry
Date of Defense 1999-12-09
Availability unrestricted
The influence of levels of hostility on the lateralized tasks of verbal and nonverbal fluency, and the concurrent cerebral regulation of autonomic nervous system functioning was examined. Forty-eight right-handed males were recruited for participation with half classified as low-hostile and the other half as high-hostile. Previous research has shown that high-hostile males, at rest, have greater right hemisphere arousal relative to low-hostile males. It was predicted that this heightened, at rest, arousal would lead to reduced capacity to perform right hemisphere lateralized proximal tasks simultaneously.

Two commonly used neuropsychological tests sensitive to left and right anterior cerebral systems are the Controlled Oral Word Association Test and the Ruff Figural Fluency Test (RFFT) respectively. Nonverbal fluency, verbal fluency, and perseverative errors were assessed using these measures. Cardiovascular measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate were assessed using oscillometric technique with a digital blood pressure meter.

A dual-task methodology was used to evaluate these anterior and posterior cerebral systems simultaneously. Since cardiovascular regulation and nonverbal fluency are both right-frontal tasks, it was predicted that high hostile men would evidence increased interference on cardiovascular regulation concurrent with the nonverbal fluency task in comparison with low hostile men. It was also predicted that high-hostile males would display more perseverative errors than low- hostile males on the nonverbal fluency task as a function of regulatory interference.

The results supported a capacity-limited prediction in high-hostile males. High-hostile males evidenced significantly heightened systolic blood pressure responses during the nonverbal fluency task in comparison with low hostile males. Further, high-hostile males displayed more perseverative errors in nonverbal fluency than did the low-hostile males. No differences were found in the overall fluency scores (verbal or nonverbal). These results partially support the expectation that differences exist between high and low hostile males for right frontal functioning. Moreover, these differences manifest in multiple domains of associated right frontal functioning. These findings extend the evidence for the proposed anterior-posterior inhibition model of hostility.

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