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Autonomic activation during a stressful task in varying sociality [Abstract]

Xenias, Dimitrios ORCID: and Kappas, A. 2005. Autonomic activation during a stressful task in varying sociality [Abstract]. Journal of Psychophysiology 19 (1) , pp. 70-71. 10.1027/0269-8803.19.1.61

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Social context influences on human behaviour have so far been studied mainly by varying the actual presence of friends or strangers during given tasks. Virtual presence has received minimal attention, while it is a field of increasing interest in several areas of psychology. One area of interest regards facial behaviour in online environments/video mediated communication. In the present study we measured psychophysiological indexes of autonomic activation (skin conductance level – SCL; heart rate; blood pressure), while people in 3 social context groups (observed explicitly, implicitly, or being alone – n = 11 for each group), performed a stressful arithmetic task presented on a computer. The different observation conditions were realized using a video conferencing window on the same screen that was either present all of the time, or at the beginning of the task, or not present. SCL differed marginally significantly for the implicit observation group from the two other conditions. For the same group, there were also significant elevations for fear, and trends for shame and guilt. SCL has often been regarded as a measure of arousal, one potential source of this being social context; other potential sources being anxiety and perceived threat. To the extent that our groups only differed in their social context, we could attribute our findings to this factor, possibly because of participant's perceived threat of judgement by the observer. This is a first attempt to link earlier findings for actual presence effects with virtual presence effects on human arousal, with implications on social context research in virtual environments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Additional Information: 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Psychophysiology Society Manchester, UK, September 13-15, 2004
Publisher: Hogrefe
ISSN: 0269-8803
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:50

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