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Individual differences in vagal regulation are related to testosterone responses to observed violence.

Porges EC, Smith KE, Decety J - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Measurement of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity has been neglected, although reduced PNS activity has been associated with antisocial behavior.Pre- and post-video saliva samples were assayed for cortisol and testosterone.These individual differences in response to observed violence, associated with higher RSA, may account for some of the improved health, growth, and restoration outcomes across the lifespan, that this segment of the population benefits from.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Aging, Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program, University of Florida , Gainesville, FL, USA.

ABSTRACT
Observing violent content has been hypothesized to facilitate antisocial behaviors including interpersonal violence. Testosterone is released in response to perceived challenges of social status, often followed by an increase in aggressive behaviors and physiological activation. Prior investigations evaluating the impact of observing violence on autonomic function have focused on sympathetic measures of arousal. Measurement of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity has been neglected, although reduced PNS activity has been associated with antisocial behavior. Consistent with a hierarchical model of the autonomic nervous system (i.e., polyvagal theory), individual differences in PNS activity reflected in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were hypothesized to have an inhibitory impact on sympathetic and hormonal reactivity in subjects who were observing a violent video. Autonomic data (i.e., electrodermal activity (EDA), heart rate, and RSA) were collected from forty adult males prior to and while viewing violent sports or a control video. Pre- and post-video saliva samples were assayed for cortisol and testosterone. Participants who viewed the violent video showed increased sympathetic activity compared to controls. In contrast to the sympathetic reactivity to the violent video, there were no significant RSA changes in response to the stimuli, suggesting that viewing violent sports selectively increases sympathetic activity without eliciting PNS withdrawal. However, within the group viewing the violent video, participants with lower RSA during baseline and the observation of violent videos, responded with greater increases in salivary testosterone, suggesting that high parasympathetic tone dampens testosterone reactivity. These individual differences in response to observed violence, associated with higher RSA, may account for some of the improved health, growth, and restoration outcomes across the lifespan, that this segment of the population benefits from.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Electrodermal activity. The mean number of skin conductance responses (SCRs) during each 5.6 min interval for the fight and the control documentary (error bars represent SD).
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Figure 1: Electrodermal activity. The mean number of skin conductance responses (SCRs) during each 5.6 min interval for the fight and the control documentary (error bars represent SD).

Mentions: To analyze group differences in EDA, a repeated measures ANOVA was performed: 2 (group: experimental/control) × 6 (interval: 5.6 min from baseline and five 5.6 min segments from the fight corresponding with each round of the fight). There was a main effect for EDA [F(1,19) = 5.91, p = 0.020, d = 0.44], indicating that the group observing the violent sporting event had significantly more SCRs. Moreover, there was a significant group by interval effect [F(3.53,19) = 4.59, p = 0.003, ε = 0.711; Figure 1]. This interaction was characterized not only by the group observing violence having increased SCRs overall but also exhibiting round-specific differences compared to the group viewing the documentary. Uncorrected contrasts identified rounds 1 [F(1,19) = 5.91, p = 0.020], 3 [F(1,19) = 12.40, p = 0.001], and 5 [F(1,19) = 8.98, p = 0.005] as significantly different from baseline by group. This was not the case for rounds 2 [F(1,19) = 1.13, p = 0.295] and 4 [F(1,19) = 2.71, p = 0.108].


Individual differences in vagal regulation are related to testosterone responses to observed violence.

Porges EC, Smith KE, Decety J - Front Psychol (2015)

Electrodermal activity. The mean number of skin conductance responses (SCRs) during each 5.6 min interval for the fight and the control documentary (error bars represent SD).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4338751&req=5

Figure 1: Electrodermal activity. The mean number of skin conductance responses (SCRs) during each 5.6 min interval for the fight and the control documentary (error bars represent SD).
Mentions: To analyze group differences in EDA, a repeated measures ANOVA was performed: 2 (group: experimental/control) × 6 (interval: 5.6 min from baseline and five 5.6 min segments from the fight corresponding with each round of the fight). There was a main effect for EDA [F(1,19) = 5.91, p = 0.020, d = 0.44], indicating that the group observing the violent sporting event had significantly more SCRs. Moreover, there was a significant group by interval effect [F(3.53,19) = 4.59, p = 0.003, ε = 0.711; Figure 1]. This interaction was characterized not only by the group observing violence having increased SCRs overall but also exhibiting round-specific differences compared to the group viewing the documentary. Uncorrected contrasts identified rounds 1 [F(1,19) = 5.91, p = 0.020], 3 [F(1,19) = 12.40, p = 0.001], and 5 [F(1,19) = 8.98, p = 0.005] as significantly different from baseline by group. This was not the case for rounds 2 [F(1,19) = 1.13, p = 0.295] and 4 [F(1,19) = 2.71, p = 0.108].

Bottom Line: Measurement of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity has been neglected, although reduced PNS activity has been associated with antisocial behavior.Pre- and post-video saliva samples were assayed for cortisol and testosterone.These individual differences in response to observed violence, associated with higher RSA, may account for some of the improved health, growth, and restoration outcomes across the lifespan, that this segment of the population benefits from.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Aging, Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program, University of Florida , Gainesville, FL, USA.

ABSTRACT
Observing violent content has been hypothesized to facilitate antisocial behaviors including interpersonal violence. Testosterone is released in response to perceived challenges of social status, often followed by an increase in aggressive behaviors and physiological activation. Prior investigations evaluating the impact of observing violence on autonomic function have focused on sympathetic measures of arousal. Measurement of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity has been neglected, although reduced PNS activity has been associated with antisocial behavior. Consistent with a hierarchical model of the autonomic nervous system (i.e., polyvagal theory), individual differences in PNS activity reflected in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were hypothesized to have an inhibitory impact on sympathetic and hormonal reactivity in subjects who were observing a violent video. Autonomic data (i.e., electrodermal activity (EDA), heart rate, and RSA) were collected from forty adult males prior to and while viewing violent sports or a control video. Pre- and post-video saliva samples were assayed for cortisol and testosterone. Participants who viewed the violent video showed increased sympathetic activity compared to controls. In contrast to the sympathetic reactivity to the violent video, there were no significant RSA changes in response to the stimuli, suggesting that viewing violent sports selectively increases sympathetic activity without eliciting PNS withdrawal. However, within the group viewing the violent video, participants with lower RSA during baseline and the observation of violent videos, responded with greater increases in salivary testosterone, suggesting that high parasympathetic tone dampens testosterone reactivity. These individual differences in response to observed violence, associated with higher RSA, may account for some of the improved health, growth, and restoration outcomes across the lifespan, that this segment of the population benefits from.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus