Visiting Speaker to Present Psychology Colloquium

Posted on 4/8/2016 12:35:23 PM

Dr. Siobhán Howard, a visiting scholar for Mary Immaculate College, in Limerick, Ireland, will present a research colloquium on Friday, April 15, at 3:30 p.m., in 111 Uhler Hall (Psychology Department).

Howard's talk is titled "Type D personality and blunted reactions to stress: Re-examining the cardiovascular reactivity hypothesis."

The cardiovascular reactivity hypothesis has long postulated that exaggerated blood pressure responses, when faced with stress, leads to the development of cardiovascular disease. Although not originally part of the reactivity hypothesis, the implicit assumption has been that lower reactivity is associated with positive outcomes. In recent years, however, while the predictive validity of the original reactivity hypothesis is accepted, there is emerging evidence to suggest that reduced or 'blunted' reactivity may not necessarily be a good thing.

This presentation examines blunted reactivity in the context of the Type D personality. Type D personality has been identified as cardio-toxic; individuals with Type D personality who experience a coronary event suffer a range of negative health outcomes following this event. However, the mechanisms that drive this established association are not well understood.

This presentation will outline our research program, which extends the literature in three important ways: 1) Type D personality appears to be associated with blunted cardiovascular reactions to stress in women; 2) this blunted reactivity is underpinned by a vascular hemodynamic response pattern, which is indicative of increased cardiovascular risk; and 3) in the case of sleep restriction, blunted responding appears to be a suppression of a response rather than the absence of a response.

Dr. Siobhán Howard and has published widely in the area of individual differences and stress reactivity, with a particular focus on the Type D personality and cardiovascular responses to stress. In recognition of Dr. Howard's work, she has recently been awarded a New Horizons research grant from the Irish Research Council to extend her program of research examining Type D personality, as well as a prestigious Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Award, to support her research here in IUP's Psychology Department.

Psychology Department