Developmental Psychophysiology and the Human Stress Response during Communication

Authored by: Chris R. Sawyer

The Handbook of Communication Science and Biology

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815376712
eBook ISBN: 9781351235587
Adobe ISBN:


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Human stress is a species-specific survival mechanism shaped by natural selection, regulated by neural anatomy, and observable in human physiology. As a feature of modern life, the stress response negatively impacts human social interaction, emotional well-being, and physical health. Increasingly, scholars are studying the physiology of stress in interpersonal communication and public speaking. Advances in developmental psychophysiology reveal that reactions to social stressors arise developmentally from early life experiences and are moderated by individual differences in environment sensitivity. This chapter explicates this emerging biological perspective along with its recent contributions to communication research and theory.

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