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Gender differences in the effect of acute psycho-social stress on emotional recognition

Ward, Laura (2018) Gender differences in the effect of acute psycho-social stress on emotional recognition. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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Emotional recognition (ER) is an important component of social interaction and based on inference, facilitates decision making. Research based on emotional recognition has been extensive and recent studies have included the effect of adverse psychological states on ER, particularly psychosocial stress. Such studies have excluded the female population which has led to a limit in generalising results. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of acute social stress on ER between genders in individuals participating in higher education. Through experimental design 37 participants were recruited using opportunity sampling. Participants took part in two emotional recognition tasks one in a relax condition and one in a stress condition. Stress was induced though a task with time/performance and peer comparison elements. Emotional recognition was assessed by calculating correct responses during each task. Stress was measured subjectively and through the physiological measure of electro-dermal activity during the experiment. No significant difference was found in the effect of stress on emotional recognition between genders. However, a strong tendency towards significance was implicated in a main effect of gender on ER, consistent with previous research. Future research needs to consider gender differences in the effect of stress on recognition of individual emotions.

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