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Personality effects on cardiovascular reactivity: Need for closure moderates the impact of task difficulty on engagement-related myocardial beta-adrenergic activity


  • This research was supported by a research grant (100014 118220) from the Swiss National Science Foundation and by a research grant from the Flemish (Belgian) National Science Foundation.

Address correspondence to: Michael Richter, Department of Psychology, University of Geneva, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail:


An experiment assessed the joint effect of dispositional need for closure (NFC) and task difficulty on engagement-related myocardial beta-adrenergic activity. Participants who scored either low or high on the NFC scale performed an ambiguous categorization task with either low or high difficulty. Confirming the theory-derived predictions, task difficulty effects on pre-ejection period (PEP) reactivity were moderated by NFC. If difficulty was low, PEP reactivity was low and independent of the participants’ NFC level. If difficulty was high, participants with high NFC showed increased PEP reactivity compared to participants with low NFC. These results extend previous research on Wright's model of engagement-related cardiovascular reactivity and suggest that the model may provide a useful framework for assessing the impact of personality on cardiovascular response.