Date of Award

12-17-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Erin Tone

Second Advisor

Vonetta Dotson

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Tighe

Abstract

The present study examined associations between self-reported social anxiety (SA) and patterns of pupillary response to emotional faces that provided feedback to college student participants (n = 59) about their performance on a reaction time task. I hypothesized that self-reported SA would predict pupil dilation profile (peak, duration, and latency) in response to feedback stimuli of varying intensities (i.e., low vs. high intensity happy and angry). Results showed no evidence of significant associations between peak and sustained pupil diameter measures and SA; however, at 0.5 seconds post-stimulus onset, SA and pupil diameter were negatively associated, such that smaller pupil diameter was associated with higher levels of SA. This pattern could be consistent with a blunted autonomic response to affective cues; examination of concurrent eye-tracking data would provide a test of this possibility. The present study lays crucial groundwork for future assessments utilizing pupil diameter as a parsimonious tool.

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