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Autonomic Nervous System Balance and Introversion



In a sample of 61 undergraduates, a measure of parasympathetic predominance in the autonomic system was associated with introversion as predicted by Lester (1974).
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... Using factor analysis of the social indicators used by Lynn, Lester (1991) found that one component of Lynn's measure of national levels of extraversion in these nations was associated with national suicide rates, but not the other component. In contrast, using the same methodology, Lester (1998) found that suicide rates were positively corrected with introversion scores for the American states. ...
... The evidence favors, therefore, the conclusion that introversion is associated with suicidality. Man, et al. (1987a) ns De Man, et al. (1987b) ns Irfani (1978) I Kumar and Pradhan (2003) I Lester (1987a) I Mehryar, et al. (1977 ns Ross, et al. (1983) ns Upmanyu, et al. (1995) ns Ecological Studies Kirkcaldy and Furnham (2000) I Lester and Georges (1986;Lester, 1987b)) E Lester (1991) E Lester (1998) I Lynn and Martin (1995) I I: introversion E: extraversion ns: no significant differences or association ...
... Lester (1983), however, found that somatotonia, a personality dimension measuring aggressive extraversion associated with mesomorphy in Sheldon's (1942) theory of personality, was associated with sympathetic predominance, consistent with Lester's theory. Lester and Berry (1998) found that introversion scores were associated with parasympathetic predominance, as predicted by Lester's theory. Stern, et al. (1980) argued that pupil dilation is sympathetically governed while pupil constriction is parasympathetically governed, and Holmes (1967) suggested that pupil constriction and dilation might be a useful measure of ANS balance. ...
Human beings by nature are relational and in relating to others modulate their autonomic responses. Interpersonal relationships may be stressful or calming depending on social contexts, individual temperaments and personality traits. Not only human relationships, but also interactions with affectionate pets and virtual relationships via social networking technology can elicit autonomic responses. These responses range from sympathetic arousal to vagal modulation of cardiovascular activity, and from changes in energy intake and expenditure to modification of physical exercise habits, all of which have potential implications for health and well-being.
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In a sample of 35 male and 93 female undergraduate students (M(age) = 21.0, SD = 2.2), it was not possible to develop a meaningful scale to measure whether individuals have a dominant sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system or a dominant parasympathetic division balance using the items in Plutchik and Conte's inventory measuring psychophysiological reactivity. Replicable sex differences in response to the items were identified which may merit further study.
In view of certain psychometric deficiencies of the original Psychoticism scale, an attempt was made to improve the scale by adding new items. It was attempted to increase the internal reliability of the scale, improve the shape of the distribution and increase the mean and variance score. Two different studies are discussed. Reliabilities are now somewhat improved, distributions are closer to normal and mean scores are higher than on the old scale. Four new short 12-item scales for the measurement of P, E, N and L are also given.
On a self-report questionnaire, 9 out of 18 items presumed to reflect sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance differentiated between males and females. It was suggested that these findings related partly to cultural expectations, partly to differential stresses, and partly to real physiological or structural differences.