Neurological damage disrupts normal sex differences in psychophysiological responsiveness to music

Psychophysiology. 2016 Jan;53(1):14-20. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12453.

Abstract

Men and women often display different physiological responses to emotional stimuli, and these responses can be affected by brain damage. Here, we investigated how brain damage differentially affects electrodermal responses based on sex. We studied neurologically normal, healthy adults and a sample of neurological patients. Participants listened to music, an emotional stimulus that reliably elicits skin conductance responses (SCRs). Electrodermal activity was recorded while participants listened to musical clips. When analyzing the data without regard to sex, there were no differences between healthy and brain-damaged participants in their SCRs. However, we found a significant interaction between brain injury status and sex. For men, brain damage significantly reduced SCRs. For women, there were no differences between brain-damaged participants and neurologically healthy participants. These findings illustrate the importance of including demographic variables, such as sex, when investigating brain-behavior relationships with a psychophysiological dependent variable.

Keywords: Cognition; Electrodermal; Emotion; Neurological; Normal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Psychophysiology
  • Registries*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors