Cardiac vagal tone as a predictor of defensiveness, openness, and self-regulatory style
AuthorMovius, Hallam L.
AdvisorAllen, John J. B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCardiac Vagal Tone (CVT) has been shown to predict a number of important emotional and behavioral outcomes. Although CVT has been proposed as an index of emotion regulation (Porges et al., 1994), little research to date has sought to explore the link between CVT and broader conceptual variables relating to personality and self-regulation. The present study measured CVT (using respiratory sinus arrhythmia) across five-minute baseline, suppression, and recovery periods in participants (n = 102) who had previously completed a short form of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale and the Openness to Experience subscale of the NEO-PI. Response latencies for Ideal and Ought self-guides (Higgins, 1997) were collected in order to assess the relationship between self-regulatory style and CVT. Defensiveness, non-Openness, and increased Ought-self accessibility were hypothesized to predict reduced CVT, and reduced capacity to suppress of CVT. Data revealed that participants suppressed CVT during a serial counting task, and higher CVT was predicted by lower social anxiety scores. Defensiveness predicted generally lower mean CVT scores across conditions, but no difference in the degree of change for CVT from baseline to suppression, or suppression to recovery. The relationship between defensiveness and mean CVT levels was moderated by gender, with defensiveness predicting significant differences in CVT for men only (higher defensiveness correlating to lower CVT). Neither Openness nor self-guide accessibility was related to CVT levels, and defensiveness did not moderate the relationship between CVT and Openness. Supplemental analyses suggest that behavioral inhibition scores (BIS) may interact with gender in predicting CVT, with low-BIS men exhibiting higher CVT than high-BIS men, and low- and high-BIS women showing an inverted (but non-significant) pattern. The results imply that CVT may be a more conceptually distinct variable than had been predicted, but also raise questions about the nature of defensiveness for men and women, and the validity of self-report personality measures.
Degree ProgramGraduate College