Sweating the big stuff: Arousal and stress as functions of self-uncertainty and identification
Brown, Joshua K. (TTU)
Hohman, Zachary P. (TTU)
Niedbala, Elizabeth M.
Stinnett, Alec J. (TTU)
Groups serve a variety of crucial functions, one of which is the provision of an identity and belief system that impart self-referent information, thereby reducing self-uncertainty. Entitative groups are more attractive for highly uncertain participants seeking groups for identification and self-uncertainty reduction than less entitative groups. The purpose of the current study was to explore how self-uncertainty impacts physiological arousal and stress responses. Using a mixed-methods design (N = 123), we found that self-uncertainty increased physiological arousal (measured via skin-conductance level) and stress responses (measured via heart rate). Furthermore, we found that uncertainty-activated physiological arousal and stress responses were decreased through identification with a high entitativity group. Our findings expand upon uncertainty identity theory by identifying physiological mechanisms that motivate uncertainty reduction.