Communication apprehension and resting alpha range asymmetry in the anterior cortex

Michael J. Beatty, Alan D. Heisel, Robert J. Lewis, Michelle E. Pence, Amber Reinhart, Yan Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined the relationship between trait-like communication apprehension (CA) and resting alpha range asymmetry in the anterior cortex (AC). Although theory and research in cognitive neuroscience suggest that asymmetry in the AC constitutes a relatively stable, inborn, substrate of emotion, some studies indicate that asymmetry can be increased by experimentally induced transitory anxiety. Transitory anxiety produced by interaction with strangers covaries with trait-like CA, raising questions regarding whether asymmetrical electrical activity in the AC during data collection represents resting levels as assumed in the literature or transitory reactions to dyadic interaction with the experimenter. Because the question if unanswered poses issues for theory and approaches to remediation, we computed correlations among alpha range asymmetry in the AC gathered by electroencephalograph (EEG) while participants were at rest, transitory anxiety scores referring to the participants' interactions with the experimenter, and CA scores gathered four weeks earlier. Results revealed a partial correlation based on disattenuated correlations, r=.51, p<.05, between CA and EEG scores when the effects of transitory anxiety due to participant-experimenter interaction were removed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-460
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Asymmetry anterior cortex
  • Communication apprehension
  • Electroencephalograph
  • Meta-analysis
  • Transitory anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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