Published:  2009

Resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia is associated with tonic positive emotionality

Authors:  Christopher Oveis, Adam B. Cohen, June Gruber, Michelle N. Shiota, Jonathan Haidt, Dacher Keltner

Tags:  Biological Markers, Emotions, Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Personality

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Resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSAREST) indexes important aspects of individual differences in emotionality. In the present investigation, the authors address whether RSAREST is associated with tonic positive or negative emotionality, and whether RSAREST relates to phasic emotional responding to discrete positive emotion-eliciting stimuli. Across an 8-month, multiassessment study of first-year university students (n = 80), individual differences in RSAREST were associated with positive but not negative tonic emotionality, assessed at the level of personality traits, long-term moods, the disposition toward optimism, and baseline reports of current emotional states. RSAREST was not related to increased positive emotion, or stimulus-specific emotion, in response to compassion-, awe-, or pride-inducing stimuli. These findings suggest that resting RSA indexes aspects of a person’s tonic positive emotionality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)