Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 345–353 | Cite as

The effects of stressful arousal on conjugate lateral eye movement

  • Donald J. Woods
  • Glen P. Beecher
  • Martin D. Ris


This study investigated the relationship between stressful arousal and conjugate lateral eye movement tendencies in right-handed males. Sixty subjects were asked both neutral and mildly emotional questions after watching either a stressful industrial accident movie or a bland control film. Subjects had been previously classified as either right-movers, left-movers, or bidirectionals on the basis of their responses in a prefilm interview. A statistically significant interaction between dominant direction and film condition was found on right eye movement. Subjects classified as right-movers displayed increased right eye movement preferences under the stress film, compared to the neutral film condition. This effect was seen with neutral, but not mildly emotional, questions. Results were interpreted within an elaborated brain asymmetry model of conjugate lateral eye movement, in which stressful arousal is assumed to increase subjects' reliance on characteristic, neurologically based ways of dealing with stimuli. Implications for theory and research on brain-behavior relationships in ego-defensive styles are discussed.


Significant Interaction Social Psychology Dominant Direction Industrial Accident Film Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald J. Woods
    • 1
  • Glen P. Beecher
    • 1
  • Martin D. Ris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A & M UniversityCollege Station

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