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Laney Graduate School

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Cardiorespiratory Patterns Characterize Emotions Across Elicitation Contexts

Wilson, Jennifer Strafford (2009)
Master's Thesis (64 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Hamann, Stephan
Committee Members: Lilienfeld, Scott O ; Barsalou, Lawrence ;
Research Fields: Psychology, Cognitive; Psychology, Physiological
Keywords: basic emotion; discrete emotion; autonomic nervous system; heart rate variability; respiratory sinus arrhythmia; respiration
Program: Laney Graduate School, Psychology
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/53v82

Abstract


Abstract
Cardiorespiratory Patterns Characterize Emotions Across Elicitation Contexts
By Jennifer S. Wilson
Emotion-specific physiological activity is a central element of theories of discrete or basic emotions.
Previous studies provide partial support for this proposal, suggesting that participants' autonomic physiological
responses during emotion induction differ based on the induced emotion. Patterns of physiological activity that
differentiate emotions consistently across multiple contexts have not yet been identified. This study investigated the
extent to which anger, fear, disgust, happiness, and sadness could be discriminated on the basis of cardiorespiratory
activity within two experimental contexts. Electrocardiogram, impedance cardiogram, and respiratory activity was
recorded while participants recalled emotional and neutral experiences from the past, and watched film clips designed
to elicit the target emotions and a neutral state. Dependent cardiovascular measures included heart rate, heart rate
variability, respiration rate and amplitude, and respiration-linked heart rate variability. Participants' subjective ratings
of their emotional responses indicated that both recollection and film clips elicited strong emotional responses
consistent with the targeted emotion category. Univariate and multivariate ANOVAs evaluating the effect of emotion
on cardiorespiratory responses indicated strong effects of emotion on respiration frequency, and unexpectedly smaller
effects on heart rate and heart rate variability, in both film and recall conditions. Principal components analysis reduced
the dependent variables to components reflecting, respectively, respiratory frequency, heart rate, heart rate variability,
and respiratory amplitude. The effect of emotion on the pattern of components observed for each emotion type was
tested using MANOVA, which revealed significant increases along the respiration component in Happiness and Fear
relative to Disgust in the emotional recall condition. No significant effects of emotion were observed in the film
condition. Stepwise discriminant analyses then tested the possibility of discriminating emotions in the emotional recall
condition, based on the pattern of cardiorespiratory components observed for each emotion type. A discriminant
function based on the respiration component allowed emotion classification at an overall correct rate of 30.7%
(compared to a 20% rate at chance performance). These findings point to core cardiorespiratory responses for each
emotion type that remain constant across several contexts of elicitation; however, findings also highlight the influence
of non-emotional contextual effects on responses to emotion-inducting stimuli.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….............................. 1

Methods…………………..……………………………………………………………............................... 10

Participants……………….……………………………………………................................... 10
Stimuli used for emotion induction……………………………….............................. 10
Ratings of emotional experience ………………………………................................ 12
Procedures…..……………………………………………………………….............................. 12
Physiological recording…..…………………………………………….............................. 18
Behavioral data analysis……………………………………………….............................. 18
Psychophysiological data analysis………………………………............................... 18

Results……………………..……………………………………………….………................................. 22

Subjective ratings of emotion experience…….…………….............................. 22
Physiological responses:

Univariate tests of Emotion effects……………….….............................. 22
Principal components and multivariate tests of Emotion effects………… 24
Pattern classification………………………………………….............................. 25

Discussion………………………………………………….…………………………............................... 26

Interpretation of findings……………………….………..………................................ 26
Limitations…………………………………………..…...………………............................... 29
Contributions and future directions………..………………….............................. 31
Conclusion……………………………………………..…………………................................ 32

References.…………………………………………………………………....…….............................. 33

Files

application/pdf Master's Thesis 64 pages (1.4 MB) [Access copy of Master's Thesis]
Supplemental Files
application/msword Appendix1- Film clips & ratings.doc (129.5 KB) []
application/msword Appendix 2- Autobiographical Form.doc (41.5 KB) []
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