The Grip Strength Project
The capacity of functional cerebral systems that regulate sympathetic cardiovascular tone and negative affective tone may vary as a function of stress, sex, and the requirement for dual concurrent processing demands (i.e.: regulatory control of sympathetic tone). This research examines relative activation of the right hemisphere in men and women before and after exposure to an affective stressor (baby cries). Systolic blood pressure (SBP), heart rate (HR), full-hand grip strength, and estimation of half-hand grip strength are used as indicators of right cerebral activation.
This experiment was designed to extend the literature supporting differences in full- and half-hand grip strength performance as indicators of stress, hostility classification (Demaree et al., 2002) and cerebral arousal. Preliminary findings from our lab suggest that women demonstrated increased cardiovascular reactivity in the post after exposure to affective stress. Moreover, women classified as high hostile showed a diminished capacity to estimate half-hand grip strength at the left hand concurrent with regulation of sympathetic tone. In other words, these women showed an increase in SBP and a decrease in estimating