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Does visual exposure to one's pet regulate stress levels during the mental arithmetic task?

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posted on 23.05.2021, 17:18 authored by Natalie Ein
This thesis examined the role of viewing a picture of one’s pet as a mechanism for alleviating the symptoms of stress. The mental arithmetic task (MAT), a psychosocial stressor was used to induce stress. Participants were randomly assigned into one of six visual conditions: either a picture of their personal pet (n = 9), an unfamiliar animal (n = 9), a person who is supportive and important to the participant (n = 9), an unfamiliar person to the participant (n =8), a pleasant image (control 1) (n = 8) or no image (control 2) (n = 8). Stress reactivity, both physical (e.g., blood pressure) and subjective (self-reported anxiety), were measured. Findings indicated that contrary to the hypothesis, viewing a picture of one’s personal pet did not reduce stress reactivity, measured either subjectively (self-report) or objectively (physiological assessment). However, the study suggests that various images can influence stress reactivity.

History

Language

English

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Kristin Vickers