Self-esteem and Autonomic Physiology: Parallels Between Self-Esteem and Cardiac Vagal Tone as Buffers of Threat (2008)
In this paper we suggest a potential physiological connection to self-esteem: cardiac vagal tone, the degree of influence on the heart by the vagus, a primary nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system. This hypothesis emerges from parallels between the two literatures that suggest both self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone function to provide protection from threat responding. We review these literatures and in addition review evidence and preliminary findings that suggest in some contexts self-esteem and cardiac vagal tone may exert an influence on each other. Lastly, we discuss theoretical and applied health implications of this potential physiological connection to self-esteem.
CitationMartens, A., Greenberg, A., & Allen, J.J.B. (2008). Self-esteem and autonomic physiology: Parallels between self-esteem and vagal tone as buffers of threat. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12, 370-389.
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