Does expressing your emotions raise or lower your blood pressure?

Emotion-expressive behavior is often but not always inversely related to physiological responding. To test the hypothesis that cultural context moderates the relationship between expressivity and physiological responding, the authors have Asian American and European American women engage in face-to-face conversations about a distressing film in same-ethnicity dyads. Blood pressure is measured continuously, and emotional expressivity is rated from reviewing videotapes. Results indicate that emotion-expressive behavior is inversely related to blood pressure in European American dyads, but the reverse was true in Asian American dyads in which there is a trend toward a positive association. These results suggest that the links between emotion-expressive behavior and physiological responding may depend on cultural context. One possible explanation for this effect may be that cultural contexts shape the meaning that individuals give to emotional expressions that occur during social interactions.

Source: “Does Expressing Your Emotions Raise or Lower Your Blood Pressure? The Answer Depends on Cultural Context” from Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Speaking of raising blood pressure, I watched this documentary the other night about how the most incredible art collection in the world was effectively stolen by politicians in Philadelphia. It’s a sad story if you’re a fan of art or individual freedom. There’s some info about the issue here but the documentary tells the story best.

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