Behavioral and Physiological Effects of Uncontrollable Environmental Events

  • David C. Glass
  • Jerome E. Singer
  • James W. Pennebaker


This chapter examines the influence of noise and related environmental stressors on human behavior. It is concerned with the cognitive context in which stressful stimulation occurs and with the behavioral aftereffects that such stimulation produces. The presentation deals, in large part, with relatively immediate aftereffects of exposure to uncontrollable and unpredictable aversive events. The demonstration of these aftereffects is primarily confined to performance deficits and only minimal attention is given to physiological processes. However, a final section presents more recent findings that have direct implications for the understanding of long-term effects of uncontrollable stressors on physiology, specifically cardiovascular functioning. This research, though also behavioral, has as its principal focus psychological antecedents of coronary heart disease (CHD). We shall begin with the line of thought leading to the noise aftereffect studies and later introduce the rationale for the CHD research.


Aversive Event Coronary Heart Disease Patient Uncontrollable Event Frustration Tolerance Unpredictable Condition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Glass
    • 1
  • Jerome E. Singer
    • 2
  • James W. Pennebaker
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.State University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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