Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Communication

Date of Defense

11-12-2007

Graduate Advisor

Alan D. Heisel, Ed.D.

Committee

Dr. Yan Tian

Dr. Amber Reinhart

Abstract

A rapidly growing body of research indicates that individual differences in the ability to regulate emotions depends on symmetric functioning in the prefrontal cortex. When prefrontal functioning is asymmetrical- especially when the right side is more active than the left- a lack of emotional control is more likely. This lack of emotional regulation has consequences for affective social interaction and, therefore, communication. Although a great deal of theoretical speculation abounds regarding the research literature, conclusions have been based on narrative literature reviews. In the present study, a psychometric meta-analysis of studies that examined the relationship between prefrontal asymmetry and variables related to temperament, personality, and communication was conducted. Results indicated that the mean correlation between prefrontal asymmetry and communication-related constructs was .410 and that all of the variance in the cluster of studies could be attributed to sampling error. The results for the temperament/personality cluster indicated a mean correlation of .33 and that all of the variance in the correlations was due to sampling error once a few anomalous effects were removed. Overall, the findings have implications for communication theory, especially with respect to neurobiological functioning and self-regulation.

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