Biomedical Engineering: Applications, Basis and Communications, 28(4), 1650024p. (2016) DOI:10.4015/S1016237216500241

Gender differences in response to affective audio and visual inductions: Examination of nonlinear dynamics of autonomic signals

A. Goshvarpour, A. Abbasi, A. Goshvarpour

Physiological reflection of emotions can be tracked by autonomic signals. Several studies have been conducted using autonomic signal processing to examine men and women differences during the exposure of affective stimuli. Emotional pictures and music are two commonly used methods to induce affects in an experimental setup. The biological changes have been commonly monitored during a certain emotional inducement protocol, solely. This study was aimed to examine two induction paradigms involved auditory and visual cues using nonlinear dynamical approaches. To this end, various nonlinear parameters of galvanic skin response (GSR) and pulse signals of men and women were examined. The nonlinear analysis was performed using lagged Poincare parameters, detrended fluctuation indices (DFAs), Lyapunov exponents (LEs), some entropy measures, and recurrence quantification analysis (RQA). The Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to show significant differences between the groups. The results indicate that besides the type of affect induction, physiological differences of men and women are notable in negative emotions (sadness and fear). Regardless to the inducements, lagged Poincare parameters of the pulse signals and DFA indices of the GSR have shown significant differences in gender affective responses. However, applying pictorial stimuli, LEs are appropriate indicators for gender discrimination. It is also concluded that GSR dynamics are intensely affected by the kind of stimuli; while this is not validated for the pulse. These findings suggest that different emotional inductions evoked different autonomic responses in men and women, which can be appropriately monitored using nonlinear signal processing approaches.

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