Inertia of emotions and inertia of the heart: Physiological processes underlying inertia of negative emotions at work

Evelina De Longis, Guido Alessandri, Cristina Ottaviani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotional inertia is a key feature of emotional dynamics and it refers to the degree to which a current emotional state can be predicted by a previous emotional state. In this study, using the experience sampling method, we examined the relationship between inertia of negative emotions at work and parasympathetic activity, measured by vagally-mediated heart rate variability (HRV). In line with current literature on HRV, we propose that temporal dependency of negative emotions at work may be associated to lower HRV, an important marker of the ability to flexibly adjust to a changing environment. Participants (n = 120) were prompted six times during a regular workday, while wearing a heart rate monitor. In accordance with the polyvagal theory and the model of neurovisceral integration, findings supported our hypothesis and indicated that workers with lower HRV tend to show high time persistence of negative emotions at work. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume155
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Emotion dynamics
  • Emotional inertia
  • Exhaustion
  • Heart rate variability
  • Negative emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)

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