International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 236–240

Cardiac Stress Reactivity and Recovery of Novelty Seekers


    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Helsinki
  • Sampsa Puttonen
    • Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
  • Petrus Järvinen
    • Department of MedicineUniversity of Kuopio
  • Laura Pulkki-Råback
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Helsinki
  • Marko Elovainio
    • National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health
    • Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity College London
  • Päivi Merjonen
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Helsinki
  • Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Helsinki

DOI: 10.1007/s12529-009-9034-8

Cite this article as:
Hintsanen, M., Puttonen, S., Järvinen, P. et al. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2009) 16: 236. doi:10.1007/s12529-009-9034-8



Novelty seeking temperament has been associated with higher coronary heart disease risk factors, but the mechanism behind the association is open. Cardiac stress response is a potential candidate.


Cardiac stress reactivity and recovery was studied in 29 healthy subjects (aged 22–37 years) scoring extremely high (n = 16) or extremely low (n = 13) on temperamental dimension of novelty seeking.


Heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and pre-ejection period were measured during challenging tasks. Differences in cardiac reactivity and recovery between the novelty seeking groups were examined with repeated-measures and univariate analyses.


The main finding was that stress reactivity did not differ between high and low novelty seeking groups, but high novelty seekers tended to show faster recovery, which is likely to be parasympathetically mediated.


The findings suggest that high novelty seekers may be more stress resilient because they might have faster cardiac recovery after stress. Cardiac stress reactivity seems not to be among the explaining factors for the association between novelty seeking and coronary heart disease risk factors.


TemperamentNovelty seekingCardiac reactivityCardiac recoveryAutonomic nervous system

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2009