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We investigated psychophysiological responses to
fear and anger inductions during real-life and imagination.
Female participants (N = 158) were assigned to
a fear-treatment, fear-control, anger-treatment, or anger-control
group. Context (real-life, imagination) was varied in two
sessions of fixed order. Eleven self-report and 29 somatovisceral
variables were registered. Results showed that (a) except
during anger imagination, control groups were emotionless;
(b) in control groups, contexts prompted diverging somatovisceral
responses, but similar emotion self-reports; except during
fear imagination, the emotion inductions (c) were successful
and (d) produced specific emotion reports; (e) during real-life,
somatovisceral fear and anger responses exhibited a marked
cardiovascular defense reflex; (f) in addition, real-life
fear showed an adrenaline-like specific response pattern,
whereas real-life anger showed specific forehead temperature
and EMG extensor increases, accompanied by an elevated
DBP during imagination. A Component Model of Somatovisceral
Response Organization is proposed.
The concept of physiological individual response
specificity (IRS) was critically discussed. A review of
empirical studies focused on IRS magnitude, stability,
and personality correlates. Using difference scores, an
average of 33% of the participants showed a significant
IRS. IRS stability was found in only 15% of the participants.
In some studies, IRS incidence was associated with neuroticism
or stress coping styles. We suggest that the IRS concept
should include not only purely constitutional but also
situational and psychological determinants. Predictions
from this revised biopsychological model were tested with
a data set comprising 48 healthy male participants who
completed six tasks, which were replicated three times
in 1-week intervals. At Session 1, 21% of the participants
displayed a significant IRS. IRS stability was found in
only 8% of the participants. Participants with a significant
IRS at Session 1 reported higher levels of fear (anger
and happiness as covariates) and of pounding heart. Between-session
IRS (trait-IRS) but not within-session IRS (state-IRS)
was associated with trait anxiety.
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