High Blood Pressure Dampens Emotional Response

Published Online: Monday, November 1, 2004

Higher blood pressure may play a role in an individual's emotional response, smoothing out emotional highs and lows, explained the authors of a study reported in Psychosomatic Medicine (July/August 2004). For the study, the researchers tested 65 participants' resting blood pressure, and then rated their emotional response to a series of positive and negative photographs. Using scales of "happy to unhappy" and "calm to excited," the participants rated their reactions to the photographs. The study's findings showed that higher blood pressure can be associated with altered emotional responses to a wider range of stimuli. The researchers indicated that increases in blood pressure may help individuals cope with intense psychological stimulation by limiting their emotional reactions.

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