Verbal fluency and emotional expression in young women differing in their styles of coping with threatening stimuli
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Submission date: 2017-09-13
Final revision date: 2018-09-20
Acceptance date: 2018-10-01
Online publication date: 2018-12-19
Publication date: 2018-12-17
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2018;6(4):330–342
In our study we decided to examine whether anxiety defined in personality terms and various emotional states, including the state of fear, measured in two ways – by means of subjective rating scales and by means of a more objective method, the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) developed by Ekman, Friesen, and Hager – would affect emotional verbal fluency understood as the number of words generated in answer to a question about the most liked and disliked trait of one’s personality.

Participants and procedure:
The participants in the screening test were 570 students; in this sample, we selected 90 women and classified each of them into one of three groups – high-anxious individuals (n = 23), low-anxious individuals (n = 41), and repressors (n = 26) – distinguished based on the criteria proposed by Weinberger and colleagues. The research task, whose aim was to induce emotions, consisted in delivering a speech lasting a few minutes in front of an audience and a video camera.

We obtained evidence of a significant association between emotional states and verbal fluency. Fear recognized by means of the FACS turned out to be the emotion that was the most strongly correlated with overall verbal fluency. We found no significant differences in fluency between individuals differing in terms of trait anxiety: low-anxious, high-anxious, and repressors.

The structure of results shows that the participants’ loquaciousness in the situation of speaking in front of an audience was more strongly influenced by currently experienced emotions than by the stable personality trait of anxiety.

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