Individual differences in the excitation transfer effect

Scott C. Bunce, Randy J. Larsen, Maribel Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Excitation transfer refers to the main effect of an arousing experience (e.g. exercise) on subsequent emotional reactions (e.g. reactions to emotional photographs). Residual arousal from the earlier task is said to "transfer" to the latter task, with the arousal being misattributed to subsequent stimuli. Studies examining individual differences in excitation transfer have focused on physical characteristics, such as cardiovascular fitness. However, because excitation transfer involves both arousal and hedonic tone, it may be that personality dimensions relevant to arousability or emotional reactivity may predict individual differences in the excitation transfer effect. Several hypotheses were proposed based upon differing personality theories. Results supported the notion that excitation transfer is strongest for the hedonically-valenced emotions with which the person has relatively less experience. Extraversion predicted excitation transfer to unpleasant (but not pleasant) stimuli, and Neuroticism predicted excitation transfer to pleasant (but not unpleasant) stimuli. Results are discussed in terms of processing bodily information more during unfamiliar than familiar affective states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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