Blunted cardiac stress reactors exhibit relatively high levels of behavioural impulsivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Sport and Health Sciences
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Department of Psychiatry
  • University of Pittsburgh


Blunted physiological reactions to acute psychological stress are associated with a range of adverse health and behavioural outcomes. This study examined whether extreme stress reactors differ in their behavioural impulsivity. Individuals showing blunted (N = 23) and exaggerated (N = 23) cardiovascular reactions to stress were selected by screening a healthy student population (N = 276). Behavioural impulsivity was measured via inhibitory control and motor impulsivity tasks. Blunted reactors exhibited greater impulsivity than exaggerated reactors on both stop-signal, F(1,41) = 4.99, p = 0.03, ηp 2 = 0.108, and circle drawing, F(1,43) = 4.00, p = 0.05, η p 2 = 0.085, tasks. Individuals showing blunted cardiovascular stress reactions are characterized by greater impulsivity which may contribute to their increased susceptibility to outcomes such as obesity and addiction.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Early online date14 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016


  • Cardiovascular activity, Impulsivity, Psychological stress, Stress reactivity