Right Hemisphere Activation to Rotary Stress in High and Low Hostile Men

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Virginia Tech


Several lines of research on converge for the conclusion that high and low hostile men differ with respect to autonomic regulation of stress. The functional cerebral systems approach has provided a theoretical framework to account for this finding across the individual sensory, motor, and premotor modalities. The current experiment extends and elaborates upon a functional cerebral systems based model that posits a role for the right frontal region in regulation of sympathetic tone after stress. The experiment builds upon prior work illustrating the utility of this model to stress by positing mild dizziness as a potential frontal lobe stressor demonstrating hostility group differences in sympathetic arousal. Dizziness was induced by brief clockwise angular rotation about the vertical neuroaxis. Consistent with vestibular research indicating clockwise rotation impacts the right hemisphere (relative to counterclockwise rotation), it was expected that hostile individuals would exhibit higher skin conductance levels after rotation compared with low hostile individuals. The experiment also included a dichotic listening task both before and after rotation to examine the effects of rotary stress on dichotic phoneme identification. The experiment was conducted in three blocks: A dichotic listening task comprised the first block, followed by application of rotary stress as the second block, and a follow-up dichotic listening task post- rotary stress. It was predicted that rotation would induce an auditory perceptual shift towards the left ear. Results confirmed expected group differences in sympathetic response to rotary stress. High hostiles had greater overall skin conductance immediately following rotation. High hostiles failed to habituate skin conductance levels to mild rotation 7 minutes post-rotary stress. Lateralized effects of skin conductance remain unconfirmed at this time. No group differences were found for either block of the dichotic listening task. Overall, results are interpreted to support a model of frontal region capacity limitation for regulation of stress, including vestibular dysfunction.



emotion, motion aftereffects, hostility, vection