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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health


Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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We wish to acknowledge students in our classes, including those who have had assignments collecting pulse and blood pressure from family members undergoing meta-emotion and oral history interviews. In these assignments, they also discussed pleasing and displeasing topics in their relationships. We thank Laura Hatcher, who has co-taught classes with the senior co-editor, in which diffuse physiological arousal in personal relationships was discussed. Her research on pheromones, fear, and cardiovascular reactivity is exciting. We acknowledge all of our research participants in the Matchbox Interaction Lab, including participants from various universities represented in this exciting volume.

We also wish to thank the contributors to this volume for their vibrant research, including Kory Floyd and Tamara Afifi for their important distinctions between wet and dry measures of physiology discussed in the introduction. Further, our work would be impossible without the pioneering achievements of early psychophysiologists in our field, such as Ralph R. Behnke, whose work appears posthumously in this volume. Without his contributions and the achievements of those who followed him, scholars in our field would likely have little appreciation for the physiology of human communication.

Chapter 11, Rethinking the Emotional Brain, by Joseph LeDoux, has been revised and reprinted with permission of Elsevier. All rights reserved.

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