Exclusive Challenges in Modeling Psycho-Social Stress: The Cyberball Experience Open Access

Krimsky, Marissa Rene (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9k41zf023?locale=en
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Abstract

Previous literature suggests that an interactive computer game called Cyberball can be used to elicit central nervous system stress and distress. We postulated that Cyberball could similarly activate the peripheral stress response both initially and upon repeated testing. This was measured through heart rate variability, cortisol, and momentary mood reports. 18 subjects were divided into two groups, ostracized and control. Subjects were tested one at a time in either the control or experimental group. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) evaluated general levels of distress at baseline, immediately following the Cyberball game, and 30 minutes after concluding the Cyberball game. Heart rate variability was collected throughout the game and two cortisol samples were collected before and after the game. All subjects played two rounds of Cyberball in each session the ostracized subjects returned after 2 weeks for a second session. There were no significant findings between the delta values of the control group versus the excluded group for cortisol levels, THM, RSA, or POMS. The larger mean POMS delta value of the control group suggests that the mood state of the excluded group improved at a lower rate the control group. The only significant result from this task was reported invisibility scores. This study suggests that the Cyberball task may not be powerful enough of a stressor to activate peripheral stress responses.

Table of Contents

Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 1
Materials and Methods ................................................................................................................................. 7
Procedure ............................................................................................................................................. 7
Figure 1: Cyberball screen .................................................................................................................... 9
Figure 2: Procedural template ............................................................................................................. 11
Results ........................................................................................................................................................ 15
Results Session 1 .................................................................................................................................... 15
Results Session 2 .................................................................................................................................... 18
Discussion .................................................................................................................................................. 19
Table 1: Mean Delta values from baseline to post-Cyberball ............................................................. 25
Table 2: Descriptive Statistics............................................................................................................. 26
Table 3: Excluded Group (Session 1): Stress Variable Correlation Values ........................................ 26
Table 4: Excluded Group (Session 1): Stress Variables and Psychological Assessment Correlation
Values ................................................................................................................................................ 27
Figure 3: Mean POMS score by time (values transformed) ............................................................... 28
Figure 4: POMS score trends ....................................................................................................... 28
Figure 5: POMS score trends by individual control subjects .............................................................. 29
Figure 6: Cortisol score trends by mean ............................................................................................. 29
Figure 7: RSA score trends by mean .................................................................................................. 30
Figure 8: THM score trends by mean ................................................................................................. 30
Figure 9: Session 2 and Session 1 POMS mean (values transformed) ............................................... 31
Figure 10: Session 2 and Session 1 Experimental group cortisol means ............................................ 31
References .................................................................................................................................................. 32

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