The effects of personality traits and suppression of positive emotion on physiological changes  [presentation, ppt, 445 kB]

Gračanin A., Kardum I., Hudek - Knežević J.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Arts and Sciences Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

The effects of emotional suppression and personality traits on the changes in the physiological activation in the situation of positive affect compared to emotionally neutral situation were examined. Participants (N = 119) viewed film clips of neutral and emotional content. They were divided in two groups, the one that received instructions to suppress experienced emotions and the one with instructions to act normally. During the experiment, skin conductance level (SCL), peripheral pulse amplitude (PPA), and heart rate (HR) were measured. Data about personality traits were collected with NEO-PI-R (Costa & McCrae, 1991), which measures Five factor personality dimensions as well as their facets, six within each dimension. No effects of suppressing on the differences in physiological activation between neutral clip and the one aimed to induce positive emotion were found. Main effects of the Five factor dimensions and their facets on physiological changes were found, as well as the interactions between them and group (suppression/normal behaviour). The effects of neuroticism and facets of neuroticism, extraversion and conscientiousness on the changes in SCL were found. Also, the effects of neuroticism and extraversion facets on the changes in the PPA as well as the effects of the facets of agreeableness on the changes in HR were found. Most importantly, interactions between neuroticism, conscientiousness, facets of neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness and group (suppression/normal behaviour) on the changes in SCL and PPA were found, which suggest that suppression of positive emotion has different effects on physiological activity, depending on the personality traits. The results obtained were discussed having in mind the role of personality traits in emotional experience and expression.