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Trait impulsivity influences behavioural and physiological responses to threat in a virtual environment

Baker, C, Fairclough, S, Ogden, RS, Barnes, R and Tootill, J (2024) Trait impulsivity influences behavioural and physiological responses to threat in a virtual environment. Scientific Reports, 14.

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Trait impulsivity represents a tendency to take action without forethought or consideration of consequences. This trait is multifaceted and can be decomposed into attentional, motor and non-planning subtypes of impulsivity. The purpose of the current study was to investigate how subtypes of trait impulsivity responded to different degrees of threat within room-scale virtual reality (VR) with respect to behaviour and level of physiological activation. Thirty-four participants were required to negotiate a virtual environment (VE) where they walked at height with the continuous threat of a virtual ‘fall.’ Behavioural measures related to the speed of movement, interaction frequency and risk were collected. Participants also wore ambulatory sensors to collect data from electrocardiogram (ECG) and electrodermal activity (EDA). Our results indicated that participants who scored highly on non-planning impulsivity exhibited riskier behaviour and higher skin conductance level (SCL). Participants with higher motor impulsivity interacted with more objects in the VE when threat was high, they also exhibited contradictory indicators of physiological activation. Attentional impulsivity was associated with a greater number of falls across the VE. The results demonstrate that subtypes of trait impulsivity respond to threats via different patterns of behaviour and levels of physiological activation, reinforcing the multifaceted nature of the trait.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Computer Science & Mathematics
Publisher: Nature Research
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2024 15:12
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2024 15:12
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41598-024-60300-6
Editors: Jones, A
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23136
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