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Nonverbal Behavior Elicited by Swearing During a Cold Pressor Task Ann Englert, Dai Xi Cui, Erica L. Decker, Hannah Krebs, Kassandra Palmas, Marissa Pinon,

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Presentation on theme: "Nonverbal Behavior Elicited by Swearing During a Cold Pressor Task Ann Englert, Dai Xi Cui, Erica L. Decker, Hannah Krebs, Kassandra Palmas, Marissa Pinon,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Nonverbal Behavior Elicited by Swearing During a Cold Pressor Task Ann Englert, Dai Xi Cui, Erica L. Decker, Hannah Krebs, Kassandra Palmas, Marissa Pinon, Christopher Rios, Thomas Staunton, Desiree Thomas, Gabriella M. Vargas, Alice L. Zheng and Nancy Alvarado Ou. Introduction Method Sex Differences in Expressive Behavior Discussion California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Our previous analysis of this data demonstrated a significant effect of gender on pain tolerance. Because men tended to leave their hands in the water significantly longer than women, they had more time to display expressive behavior. This accounts for the higher frequencies of smiling and distress. When the number of behaviors was divided by time to produce a rate of behavior, the rates did not differ between the sexes. The increased expressive behavior in the pseudoswearing condition is interesting. First, the increased smiling during pseudoswearing supports our hypothesis that the humor manipulation evokes positive affect for both sexes. However, only men showed increased smiling during the swearing condition, suggesting that they felt positive affect while swearing (or a greater sense of control). Second, men showed greater distress expressivity in the pseudo- swearing condition, suggesting that they also felt negative affect. The increased rate of embarrassment behavior (looks down) displayed by both sexes in the pseudoswearing condition confirms that while the humorous phrases did provide an increased hypoalgesic benefit, subjects felt pretty silly saying the phrases. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nature of the affect experienced by subjects participating in a cold pressor task. Both swearing and pseudoswearing (a humorous version of swearing) result in an increased hypoalgesic benefit in pain tolerance during a cold-pressor task, but it is unclear whether positive or negative affect is responsible. Our intent was to: (1) systematically code nonverbal behavior, and (2) explore the relations between positive affect and vocalization during the task. Hypotheses: We predicted that subjects in the pseudoswearing condition would show increased smiling, consistent with positive affect, compared to the control and swearing conditions. We expected greater smiling and less distress also in the swearing condition due to increased sense of control, and perhaps enjoyment of the swearing task. Women generally do show greater expressivity than men, so we expected to find sex differences in all conditions. Participants A total of 76 healthy and diverse undergraduate students from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona participated in a cold pressor task. Subjects included 34 male and 42 female participants. The average age was years (SD= 2.27). Materials A JEIO Tech refrigerated circulating bath was used with the temperature set at 3 degrees Celsius, fluctuating within 0.2 of a degree. Additional measures included physiological responses (heart rate), a catastrophizing inventory presented via a computer, emotion ratings, and a Pain Attitudes Questionnaire. Noldus Observer XT was used to code observational data using video recordings of subjects participating in the experiment. Procedure To determine whether swearing increases tolerance to pain, subjects were told to submerge their left hand into the cold water and hold it there as long as possible. Participants were randomly assigned to either a swearing condition, a pseudo swearing condition, or a control condition. Subjects were told to press a bell when they felt initial discomfort and once more when the pain became intolerable. Additionally, participants were asked to read a phrase from a card while their hand was submerged in the water. The phrases consisted of either a swearing phrase, “Shit it’s cold,” a funny pseudoswearing phrase, “Sweet Christmas it’s cold,” or non-swearing phrase, “It’s so cold” (control). Once the task was completed additional questionnaires were administered. Each participant was recorded on a video camera throughout the process, and the video was coded for the analysis reported here. We wish to thank all of the members of the lab during previous quarters who helped collect the data analyzed in this study. As expected, pain tolerance was positively correlated with total number of smiles (r =.514, p <.01) and total duration of smiles (r =.462, p<.01), as well as total number of distress expressions (r =.309, p<.01) and total duration of distress expressions (r =.412, p<.01). A 2 x 3 x 3 Factorial MANOVA was used to analyze the effects of Gender (Male and Female) and Experimental Condition (Control, Pseudo-swearing and Swearing) on three dependent variables: (1) total number of expressive behavior, (2) mean duration of expressive behavior, and (3) rate per minute of expressive behavior. Three types of expressive behavior were coded (smiles, distress expressions, looking down and to side). The overall multivariate tests approached significance for Gender. Univariate tests showed several significant differences (see graphs). Men smiled significantly more often than women, F(1, 70) = , p=.027 and displayed significantly longer distress expressions than women, F (1, 70) = 4.65, p =.035. Men and women both showed greater rates of embarrassed behavior in the pseudoswearing condition, F (2, 70) = 2.98, p =.05. C = Control P = Pseudoswearing S = Swearing Both sexes were more embarrassed during pseudo- swearing than swearing. Men showed longer-lasting distress expressions during the pseudoswearing condition. Men and women were equally likely to smile but men who smiled did so more frequently.


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