Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 29–45 | Cite as

The Outward Expression of Anger, the Inward Experience of Anger and CVR: The Role of Vocal Expression

  • Aron Wolfe Siegman
  • Selena Cappell Snow


Two hypotheses were tested: (1) that only the outward expression of anger, not its mere experience, is associated with heightened cardiovascular reactivity; and (2) that the discussion of anger-arousing experiences in a mood incongruent speech style (soft and slow) attenuates the subjective experience of anger and its cardiovascular correlates. Each of 24 subjects participated in three experimental conditions: (1) Anger-out, in which previously experienced anger-arousing events were described loudly and quickly; (2) Anger-in, in which anger-arousing events were relived inwardly, in subject's imagination; and (3) mood-incongruent speech, in which anger-arousing events were described softly and slowly. Only the Anger-out condition was associated with high cardiovascular reactivity levels. The Anger-in and the mood-incongruent conditions were associated with near-zero and very low reactivity levels, respectively. Subjective anger ratings were highest in the Anger-out condition, moderate in the Anger-in condition, and lowest (not angry) in the mood-incongruent condition. All differences were significant. These findings suggest that the full-blown expression of anger, in all of its paraverbal intensity, is pathogenic and that the mere inner experience of anger is not.

anger-out anger-in cardiovascular reactivity control of anger 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aron Wolfe Siegman
    • 1
  • Selena Cappell Snow
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Maryland Baltimore CountyCatonsville

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