We conducted a 2 (Susceptibility: High/Low) 4 (Story Topic) fractional ex-periment in which 18 participants read health-related news articles on a computer. These articles were manipulated in order to make participants feel eithermore or less susceptible to a particular health issue. We measured heart rate and skin conductance while participants read each story, and recognition following adistracter task. We derived participants’ respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA)from the heart rate data. Participants exhibited greater RSA, fewer SCRs, and better recognition memory for stories in the high susceptibility condition. These results are discussed in terms of sympathovagal balance as well as current theories on how salient features of news affect cognitive processing.
- autonomic responses
- perceived susceptibility