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Behavioral Physiology Laboratory

Larkin at polygraphCurrent research interests in the Behavioral Physiology Laboratory focus on autonomic reactivity to stress and its implications in the pathogenesis of a broad range of health conditions, including cardiovascular disorders. Empirical projects are currently being conducted in the Behavioral Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Psychology as well as through research collaborations at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

Recent empirical work in behavioral physiology has examined how various psychological phenomena (e.g., hostility, social support, optimism, coping, forgiveness) are linked to health outcomes. Based upon the literature, it has been hypothesized that the relation between these behavioral factors and disease outcomes is mediated by the magnitude and patterning of autonomic nervous system responses to mental stress. As such, individuals who respond to mental stress with exaggerated autonomic responses are at the greatest risk for subsequent health problems. Additional investigations explore behavioral methods for reducing the magnitude of these autonomic responses.

Our Research Team

Representative Publications

Recent Presentations