Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Brad Huitema

Second Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study assessed changes in blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductance, frontalis muscle tension, and breathing rates associated with repeated reading aloud and non-stressful conversation. Four male and 3 female normotensive subjects participated. Sixteen presentations of both verbal tasks, each preceded by a quiet rest period, were made across 8 sessions.

The results indicate that: (a) when compared with resting levels, statistically significant increases in heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, and frontalis muscle tension, and decreases in breathing rates may be produced by reading aloud and non-stressful conversation; (b) systolic blood pressure changes attenuate with repeated trials; and (c) subjects present unique profiles of responses to the two verbal tasks for the six dependent measures employed. It was concluded that reading aloud, non-stressful conversation, or counting forward aloud should be employed as a control condition in investigations of cardiovascular reactivity.