Cardiovascular patterns associated with appetitive and defensive activation during affective picture viewing

Authors

  • Patrick Gomez,

    1. Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail (Institute for Work and Health), University of Lausanne and University of Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • Brigitta Danuser

    1. Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail (Institute for Work and Health), University of Lausanne and University of Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • We are grateful to Samiha Shafy for her assistance in data collection and reduction and to Dr. Dominique Chouanière for her helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Address reprint requests to: Patrick Gomez, Institut universitaire romand de Santè au Travail (Institute for Work and Health), University of Lausanne and University of Geneva, rue du Bugnon 21, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland. E-mail: patrick.gomez@hospvd.ch

Abstract

In this study we assessed blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (CO), and total peripheral resistance (TPR) in response to 13 picture series in 37 participants in order to investigate their hemodynamic response associated with activation of the appetitive and defensive motivational systems underlying emotional experience. BP and SV, but not TPR, increased with increasing self-rated arousal, whereas HR decelerated more in response to negative than positive and neutral pictures. These findings suggest that modulation of the cardiovascular response to pictures is primarily myocardial. The observed response pattern is consistent with a configuration of cardiac sympathetic–parasympathetic coactivation. The relationships between self-rated arousal, BP, and SV were mainly exhibited by men, suggesting that increases in the sympathetic inotropic effect to the heart with self-rated arousal may be larger in men than in women.

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