Cardiovascular (CV) response consists of changes in CV parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, and heart contraction force in reaction to an event or set of events. It is significant for multiple reasons, perhaps most notably because research suggests that it affects the development and progression of heart disease. Disease models vary, but most assume that characteristically strong and prolonged CV responses confer health risk.

Psychologists have long suspected linkages between motivational variables and CV response. However, formal study of the linkages was limited for many years. Motivationally based CV response research now flourishes, with researchers in various disciplines considering the role of relevant variables such as effort, incentives, and goals.

This book conveys the amount and diversity of motivationally based CV response research that currently is being conducted. Chapters discuss mechanisms of motivational influence on CV response and apply motivational approaches to studying CV response in different life circumstances. Health implications are considered throughout.

The volume will appeal to scholars and practitioners in numerous specialty areas, including motivation, emotion, psychophysiology, medical/health psychology, social/personality psychology and human factors/ergonomics. It will be a vital research source and could serve as a text or supplement in classes that address motivational, psychophysiological and health issues.

Table of Contents



Rex A. Wright and Guido H. E. Gendolla

I. Mechanisms

A. Neural Integration and Direct Effects of Effort
  1. Integration of Cardiac Function With Cognitive, Motivational, and Emotional Processing: Evidence From Neuroimaging
    Marcus A. Gray and Hugo D. Critchley
  2. Beta-Adrenergic Cardiovascular Reactivity and Adaptation to Stress: The Cardiac Pre-Ejection Period as an Index of Effort
    Robert M. Kelsey
  3. Psychophysiological Processes of Mental Effort Investment
    Stephen H. Fairclough and L. J. M. Mulder
B. Reward Influence and Response Specificity
  1. Cardiovascular Response to Reward
    Michael Richter
  2. Emotion, Motivation, and Cardiovascular Response
    Sylvia D. Kreibig
C. Affect and Stressful Conflict
  1. Emotional Intensity Theory and Its Cardiovascular Implications for Emotional States
    Anca M. Miron and Jack W. Brehm
  2. Gloomy and Lazy? On the Impact of Mood and Depressive Symptoms on Effort-Related Cardiovascular Response
    Guido H. E. Gendolla, Kerstin Brinkmann, and Nicolas Silvestrini
  3. Cardiovascular Reactivity to Stress: The Role of Motivational Conflict
    Justin E. Stanley and Richard J. Contrada
D. Fatigue
  1. Pause and Plan: Self-Regulation and the Heart
    Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Jaime K. Hardy, Daniel R. Evans, and Natalie F. Winters
  2. Multifaceted Effects of Fatigue on Effort and Associated Cardiovascular Responses
    Rex A. Wright and Christopher C. Stewart

II. Applications

A. Health and Cardiovascular Response
  1. Cardiovascular Reactivity and Health
    Stephan Bongard, Mustafa al'Absi, and William R. Lovallo
  2. The Behavioral and Health Corollaries of Blunted Physiological Reactions to Acute Psychological Stress: Revising the Reactivity Hypothesis
    Douglas Carroll, Anna C. Phillips, and William R. Lovallo
B. Social Striving and Sex (Gender) Influence
  1. Agonistic Striving, Emotion Regulation, and Hypertension Risk
    Craig K. Ewart
  2. Interpersonal Motives and Cardiovascular Response: Mechanisms Linking Dominance and Social Status With Cardiovascular Disease
    Timothy W. Smith, Jenny M. Cundiff, and Bert N. Uchino
  3. Social Influences on Cardiovascular Processes: A Focus on Health
    Greg J. Norman, A. Courtney DeVries, Louise Hawkley, John T. Cacioppo, and Gary G. Berntson
  4. Indeterminate Motivations: Cardiovascular Health Costs of Living in a Social World
    Britta A. Larsen and Nicholas J. S. Christenfeld
  5. Effort Mechanisms Linking Sex to Cardiovascular Response: Toward a Comprehensive Analysis With Relevance for Health
    Rex A. Wright and Patricia Barreto
C. Work and Achievement
  1. Cardiovascular Measures in Human Factors/Ergonomics Research
    Richard W. Backs, John Lenneman, and Nicholas Cassavaugh
  2. Clarifying Achievement Motives and Effort: Studies of Cardiovascular Response
    Rémi L. Capa


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Rex A. Wright, PhD, is a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his BA at the University of Texas in Austin and his PhD at the University of Kansas, and he did his postdoctoral training at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Dr. Wright's research is concerned chiefly with determinants and cardiovascular consequences of effort. He has authored numerous publications, including research articles, book chapters, and books. He also has held numerous visiting academic appointments, including ones at the Max Planck Institute (Germany), the University of Bielefeld (Germany), the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg (Germany), the University of Geneva (Switzerland), the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Missouri at Columbia, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Wright's visits have been supported in part by the Fulbright Program, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. His research has been supported by various granting agencies, most notably the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Wright currently serves as an associate editor for the journal Motivation and Emotion.

Guido H. E. Gendolla, PhD, is a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), where he holds the chair for motivation psychology and directs the Geneva Motivation Lab. He earned his diploma (corresponding to the MA) and his PhD in psychology at the University of Bielefeld (Germany). He earned his habilitation in psychology at the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg (Germany).

Dr. Gendolla's research focuses on human motivation and affective states and is mainly concerned with psychophysiological processes. He has authored numerous publications, and his research has been supported by various grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Swiss National Funds.