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Automatic information processing and stress in the natural environment : an emotion-modulated startle response study

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Automatic information processing and stress in the natural environment : an emotion-modulated startle response study

Nijjar, Rami (2009) Automatic information processing and stress in the natural environment : an emotion-modulated startle response study. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Positive interpersonal relationships are integral to individuals' mental health and well being. Biases in the automatic processing of threatening social stimuli has been suggested as one mechanism that puts people at risk for greater dysfunction in interpersonal realms. The present study sought to explore this relationship using the emotion-modulated startle paradigm, a well-validated measure of automatic processing and defensive motivational system activation. Three separate objectives were addressed: (1) whether angry and happy facial images would differentially modulate the eye-blink startle response, (2) whether the emotion-modulated startle response to angry faces predicts the experience of chronic stress and stressful life events (SLEs) in the natural environment, as determined by the UCLA Chronic and Episodic Life Stress Interview, and (3) whether the relationship between the emotion-modulated startle response and indices of stress is moderated by depression scores. Results indicate that those who exhibit greater startle magnitude to angry faces also experience greater chronic stress and SLEs in non-interpersonal realms. Furthermore, depression and startle magnitude were seen to interact in the prediction of non-interpersonal stress such that high startle was predictive of stress in those with low depression scores. This study is among the first to demonstrate a relationship between psychophysiological measures of attention and the experience of stress in the natural environment, opening up avenues for future investigation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nijjar, Rami
Pagination:viii, 79 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A
Program:Psychology
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ellenbogen, M
ID Code:976507
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:27
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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