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Poster A68


Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Catalina Fabar1 (, Martín Irani2, Pablo Billeke3, Valentín Peñaloza-Sancho4, Alexies Dagnino-Subiabre4, Nadira Faber5,6, Tomás Ossandon1; 1Pontificia Universidad Católica, 2University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 3Universidad del Desarrollo, 4Universidad de Valparaíso, 5University of Oxford, 6University of Bremen

Executive functions, such as decision-making and cognitive flexibility, are influenced by acute stress. Social bargaining, a specialized form of decision-making, requires individuals to pay attention to the intentions and reactions of others in order to make adjustments aligning with personal goals. We explored the effects of acute stress on social negotiation and pupil dilation, a marker of noradrenaline system activity and attentional processes. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to either a stress or control group and subjected to the Maastricht-Acute-Stress-Test, with measurements of salivary cortisol. Participants assumed the role of proposers in a repeated Ultimatum Game, engaging with simulations representing either humans (social context) or computers (non-social context). Changes in their game strategy and pupil size were analyzed. Results indicated a significant statistical difference between groups, where only the non-stressed adapted their offers and increased earnings in the non-social context, whereas stressed participants did not adapt in either context. Interestingly, negative feedback elicited higher pupil dilatation in stressed participants than controls, particularly in the social context. Stress has been associated with reduced cognitive reappraisal of emotions, possibly amplifying the saliency of negative feedback for stressed individuals. Recent evidence suggests that pupil size increases in response to stimuli with high negative emotional valence, implying that social rejection may carry heightened negative emotional valence for stressed individuals. These findings shed light on the intricate interplay between acute stress, social negotiation, and physiological responses, offering valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms that influence decision-making and attentional processes in stressful social scenarios.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions


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April 13–16  |  2024