Cortisol, growth hormone, free fatty acids, and experimentally evoked affective arousal

Am J Psychiatry. 1975 Nov;132(11):1172-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.132.11.1172.


Eight male volunteers who viewed selected control, suspense, and erotic films experienced significant changes in affect that were limited to fatigue, anxiety, and sexual arousal, respectively. All subjects showed free fatty acid elevations with the suspense and erotic films and those subjects with the most anxiety and sexual arousal showed cortisol elevation with the suspense and erotic films, respectively. Growth hormone elevations occurred independently of cortisol elevations and were not clearly related to film or affect. Thus, activation of the pituitary-adrenocortical and sympathetic nervous systems appears to occur not in relation to a specific dysphoric state but rather with nonspecific affective arousal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Anxiety / blood
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood*
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Libido / physiology
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology
  • Sex
  • Stress, Psychological / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Growth Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone