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Facial flushing during provocation in women

Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 (1999) Facial flushing during provocation in women. Psychophysiology, 36 (3). pp. 325-332.

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Facial flushing was studied in 38 young women who scored high or low on trait anger. To induce anger in the subjects, their task was to solve a difficult puzzle, with or without harassment from a female research assistant. Facial blood flow increased in response to provocation, together with increases in cardiovascular and electrodermal activity. Flushing was associated with large increases in electrodermal activity and small increases in diastolic blood pressure. Subjects high in trait anger reported most anger and embarrassment, but physiological activity did not differ from subjects with low trait anger. The findings suggest that sympathetically mediated vasodilatation in facial blood vessels competes with cutaneous vasoconstriction during anger. Unpleasant sensations of facial warmth might heighten aversive emotional experiences, but dilatation of facial blood vessels could also act as a type of 'safety valve' by opposing increases in blood pressure. An angry predisposition may influence the subjective experience of anger in women, but does not seem to have a major influence on physiological reactivity to mild provocation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2003 Society for Psychophysiological Research
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