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Piloerection Sensor: Insight into Autonomic Function

Description

Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly

Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly relevant to emotions research. Despite wide-ranging applications, current methods for measuring piloerection are laborious and qualitative. The goal of this study is to build a wearable piloerection sensor through the use of straight-line lasers and photoresistors. The study analyzed methods of detecting and measuring goosebumps, and applied the method of laser scattering as a detection method. This device was designed and tested against a population of seven Arizona State University students. Goosebumps were elicited through conditions of cold, and video clips meant to elicit emotions of awe and sadness. Piloerection was then quantified through two controls of self-identification and camera recording, as well as the new detection method. These were then compared together, and it was found that subjective methods of determining goosebumps did not correlate well with objective measurements, but that the two objective measurements correlated well with one another. This shows that the technique of laser scattering can be used to detect goosebumps and further developments on this new detection method will be made. Moreover, the presence of uncorrelated subjective measurements further shows the need for an objective measurement of piloerection, while also bringing into question other factors that may be confused with the feeling of piloerection, such as chills or shivers. This study further reaffirmed previous studies showing a positive correlation between intense emotions.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Perception of Aggression in Online Media and Competitive Context

Description

Contextual cues can impact how statements are perceived. Specifically, they may be perceived as more aggressive than they otherwise would be. For the study, both medium of communication (in-person versus online) as well as how competitive the context was (non-competitive

Contextual cues can impact how statements are perceived. Specifically, they may be perceived as more aggressive than they otherwise would be. For the study, both medium of communication (in-person versus online) as well as how competitive the context was (non-competitive or competitive) were examined, with a bit of focus on gender. 130 Arizona State University students enrolled in Psychology 101 were surveyed; the mean age was 19.32 (SD = 1.43). A 2x2 factorial design was used, consisting of four possible conditions: In-person/Competitive, Online/Competitive, In-person/Non-Competitive, and Online/Non-Competitive. Participants read two scenarios, each featuring a target character who says an ambiguous statement, and each scenario with one of the four conditions at random. One scenario involved earning a promotion, and the other involved trying to win a voucher via mini-golf. After, participants answered questions regarding how they felt about the intent of the ambiguous statement, how the participant would feel in the scenario, and what kind of person the participant felt the target character was. Exploratory Factor Analysis with Principal Axis Factoring and Direct Oblimin Rotation was used to find outcome variables. We hypothesized that Perceived Aggression and Participant Negative Emotion would be higher in both the competitive condition as well as the online condition, and that Perceived Agreeableness would be higher in both the non-competitive condition as well as the in-person condition; this applied for both scenarios. The results were mostly not statistically significant, and contrary to the hypotheses, Perceived Aggression and Participant Negative Emotion were higher in the in-person condition than the online condition. However, as predicted, Perceived Agreeableness was higher for the in-person condition, and the competitive led to higher levels of Perceived Aggression and Participant Negative Emotion, along with lower levels of Perceived Agreeableness, as opposed to the non-competitive condition. Limitations included a small age range and only one type of online communication (instant messaging), along with the fact that the study was a survey. Future studies are needed to examine what factors affect perception of aggression, as very few have been conducted.

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Date Created
2016-05