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Peripheral physiological responses to subliminally presented negative affective stimuli: A systematic review.

Authors
  • van der Ploeg, Melanie M1
  • Brosschot, Jos F2
  • Versluis, Anke2
  • Verkuil, Bart3
  • 1 Health, Medical and Neuropsychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Health, Medical and Neuropsychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 3 Health, Clinical Psychology Unit, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biological psychology
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2017
Volume
129
Pages
131–153
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.051
PMID: 28843622
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Negative affective information may be presented outside of awareness and change physiological activity. By increasing peripheral physiological activity, subliminally presented negative affective information may contribute to the development of disease. The current systematic review evaluated 65 studies in which negative affective stimuli were presented subliminally to a healthy sample while cardiovascular, electrodermal, electromyographical, hormonal, or immunological activity was measured. Overall, 41% of the tested contrasts indicated significant increases due to negative affective stimuli compared to control stimuli. These effects were most pronounced in fear-conditioning studies measuring skin conductance response amplitude and priming studies measuring systolic blood pressure. However, across the included studies the methodology varied substantially and the number of contrasts per physiological parameter was limited. Thus, although some evidence exists that subliminally presented negative affective stimuli can induce adverse peripheral physiological changes, this has not yet been addressed sufficiently.

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