Date of Award

11-7-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Abeare, Christopher

Keywords

Affective Processes, Athletes, Concussion, Emotion, Startle response

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Mild traumatic brain injury is associated with new onset emotional symptoms (Caroll et al., 2014; Konrad et al., 2011). This study will address a gap in the literature by examining the relationship between mTBI, autonomic arousal, and emotional symptoms in the acute phase of a concussion in athletes. In this pilot study, skin conduction and heart rate changes in response to emotional stimuli were measured in 25 undergraduate controls. Results indicate that emotional valence of facial expressions did not elicit the expected differential physiological responses as suggested by previous research, but habituation to an acoustic startle over repeated exposures was observed. Changes to the protocol for future research with concussed athletes are discussed.

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