Blunted cardiac stress reactors exhibit relatively high levels of behavioural impulsivity



Bibbey A, Ginty AT, Brindle RC, Phillips AC & Carroll D (2016) Blunted cardiac stress reactors exhibit relatively high levels of behavioural impulsivity. Physiology & Behavior, 159, pp. 40-44.

Blunted physiological reactions to acute psychological stress are associated with a range of adverse health and behavioural outcomes. This study examined whether extreme stress reactors differ in their behavioural impulsivity. Individuals showing blunted (N = 23) and exaggerated (N = 23) cardiovascular reactions to stress were selected by screening a healthy student population (N = 276). Behavioural impulsivity was measured via inhibitory control and motor impulsivity tasks. Blunted reactors exhibited greater impulsivity than exaggerated reactors on both stop-signal, F(1,41) = 4.99, p = 0.03, ηp2 = 0.108, and circle drawing, F(1,43) = 4.00, p = 0.05, η p 2 = 0.085, tasks. Individuals showing blunted cardiovascular stress reactions are characterized by greater impulsivity which may contribute to their increased susceptibility to outcomes such as obesity and addiction.

Cardiovascular activity; Impulsivity; Psychological stress; Stress reactivity

Physiology & Behavior: Volume 159

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council, AXA Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship and AXA Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship
Publication date31/05/2016
Publication date online14/03/2016
Date accepted by journal10/03/2016
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Anna Whittaker
Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Sport