Biological psychology 60 (2002) 37 - 49 www. Elsevier. Mom/locate/biophysics Anticipatory autonomic response to a public speaking task in women The role of trait anxiety Spenserian Gonzalez-Bono a, Luis Maya-Labial a, Alicia Salvador a,*, Advises Cigarillo b, Jorge Ricotta b, Jesus Gomez-Amoral b Department De Sociobiology y Psychological Social, Faculty De Psychological, Unimpressed De Valiance, Area De Sociobiology, Paradox 22109, 46071 Valiance, Spain b Department De Agencies Morphological y Sociobiology, Faculty De Psychological, Unimpressed De Marcia, Area De Sociobiology, Campus Unrealistic De Espionage, 0100 Marcia, spam Received 27 November 2001; accepted 18 February 2002 Abstract The aim of this research was to study anticipatory autonomic responses their relationship to trait anxiety. Twenty-three women prepared an evaluated speech (S- condition) and 22 women an evaluated essay (W-condition).
Heart rate (HRS), finger pulse volume (FOP) and skin conductance were recorded before, during and after preparation of the task and during task performance; state-anxiety was evaluated before and after the task. In the total sample, state-anxiety was higher in the S- than n W-condition and this anxiety increase was accompanied by FOP reductions. However, when the sample was split according to trait anxiety scores, HRS during preparation and increases of state-anxiety were greater in S- than W-condition in only in high-anxious women. Results suggest that specificity of anticipatory HRS response to a public speaking task in women is moderated by cognitive anxiety. O 2002 Elsevier Science B. V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Anticipatory response; Cardiovascular; Skin conductance; Public speaking tasks; Evaluative threat * Corresponding author. Tell. : + 34-6-3864420; fax: + 34-6-3864668. E-mail address: Alicia. [email protected] Sees (A. Salvador). 0301 0511/021* - see Toronto matter 2002 Elsevier silence B v All rig ants Reese E. Gonzalez-Bono et al. / Biological Psychology 60 (2002) 37-49 1. Introduction Anticipatory response to stress has been considered to be a preparatory mechanism for the defense of the organism to threat stimuli on the basis of flight-fight mechanisms (Canon, 1929). However, most of the studies that have dealt with this theme have aimed to establish criteria for valid baseline measurement rather than elucidate the anticipatory activation per SE (Gregg et al. , 1999).
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Due to this methodological focus, the impact of these anticipatory responses on the subsequent response to the task are unclear. In previous studies, we have found that psychosocial stress elicited by sports competitions produced an anticipatory response on certain hormonal axes when physical exertion was controlled (Gonzalez-Bono et al. , 1999; Say et al. , 1999). A widely employed psychosocial stresses in the laboratory is public speaking. Tasks involving public speaking provoke reliable neuroscience (Scrumhalf et al. , 1993), metabolic (Scrumhalf et al. , 1997), immunological (Ackerman et al. 1996), as well as cardiovascular and electrodes responses (Knight and Borden, 1979; Epigrapher et al. , 1989; Fischer and Andresen's, 2000).
Typically, laboratory stresses involve mental effort, psychosomatic skills, some psychological or physical threat, and social evaluation, with greater responses in public speaking tasks being attributed to the presence of this latter component (Fischer and Andresen's, 2000). In fact, evaluation has been considered to be one of the common uncontrolled features in many studies that alter the magnitude of the autonomic response (Smith et al. 1997); evaluation generally enhances anxiety and negative affect in general. A speech, even when simulated, elicits greater elevations in anxiety than an attention task (Palm et al. , 1994). A typical public speaking task usually includes an explicit, preparatory phase that makes it a useful tool to study anticipatory response. Enhanced cardiovascular activity during the preparation of a speech is often described (Saab et al. 1992; Tardy and Allen, 1998; Smith et al. , 1997; Gregg et al. , 1999). The magnitude of the response in anticipation to speech was found by Alibis et al. 1997) to be greater than the anticipation to other evaluated tasks. However, little is know about the factors that affect or moderate this anticipatory activation. In a recent study comparing social phobic and control subjects in anticipation of a speech, the phobic group showed higher heart rate (HRS) and greater right-sided anterior cortical activation than controls. These physiological changes were accompanied by greater increases in situational anxiety and negative affect (Davidson et al. , 2000).
Evidence as to whether people who report being anxious have greater cardiovascular responses to the valuated speaking task is contradictory, with some studies failing to find significant differences in HRS and skin conductance levels between high- and low-speech-anxious ejects (Knelt Ana Borden, II/Y; Baggage et al. , AY Methodological Territories In the evaluation trait anxiety (total trait anxiety, specific speech anxiety, etc. ) could explain, at least in part, these inconsistencies. In spite of the fact that it has been suggested that interactions between characteristics of the person and features of the situation enhance the predictive utility of psychophysiology dimensions (Michel ND Soda, 1995), little research 39 has been devoted to personality factors as moderators of cardiovascular reactivity in women (Lawyer et al. , 1990; Fischer and Andresen's, 2000).
Bearing all this in mind, the first aim of the present study was to characterize the cardiovascular and electrodes activation that occurs prior to public speaking and differentiate these responses from those that occur in situations with similar evaluative threat and mental effort but when no public speaking is anticipated. To this end, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups according to the instructions received n the preparatory period; one group believed that they had to speak and the other believed that they had to write. Both groups knew that their performance would be evaluated. All subjects actually performed the same task (speech) in order to assess whether activation of the preparatory period could influence reactivity during the posterior task period.
With this strategy, differences between groups in the cardiovascular and/or electrodes responses measured in the preparatory period would affirm that they were due to anticipation of the speech itself and not to the associated evaluative threat and mental effort. A lack of group differences would indicate that the anticipatory response was likely due to the evaluative threat and/or cognitive aspects common to both tasks. Additionally, differences during the task period would suggest the influence of preparatory activation on reactivity during task performance because all the subjects performed the same task and similar responses should be expected.
In the light of previously described results, we hypothesized greater HRS and lower FOP, when preparing and performing a speech than when preparing and writing an essay. Formulation of hypothesis regarding electrocuted activity is limited due to the fact that the scarce studies on public speaking tasks do not compare speech with other evaluated tasks (Knight and Borden, 1979; Epigrapher et al. , 1989). In order to determine whether autonomic differences were associated with different emotional impacts, changes in state- anxiety were also assessed. As has been suggested in previous studies, greater increases in situational anxiety would be found in speech rather than in writing.
The second aim of this study was to evaluate the role of trait anxiety on cardiovascular and electrodes responses induced by anticipation of the evaluative public peaking task. Greater reactivity of HRS and FOP in preparation to speech was expected in high-anxious compared to low-anxious women. In the light of the previously reported studies, no differences in function of anxiety would be expected in skin conductance. As potential moderating factors of the anticipatory response, total trait anxiety evaluated along Walt somatic, Dimensional, Ana cognitive components in accordance with Lands three-system model (Lang, 1968; Lang et al. , 1993). 2. Method 2. 1.
Participants The sample was composed of 45 undergraduate women who volunteered to participate in the study. All of them were right-handed, drug-free (including oral contraceptives) and healthy. Women were aged 21. 59 0. 4 years and their body mass index was of 21. 590. 3 keg/mm. These variables were used to counterbalance subjects by conditions. They were initially screened using a brief questionnaire in which aspects such as habits, health and drug intake were covered. The absence of physical activity during the 12-h prior to testing was checked. All subjects signed a written consent that included that non-invasive measurements would be taken. 2. 2. Equipment and physiological recording