Modulating executive functioning: Trait motivational reactivity and resting HRV

Rachel L. Bailey, Robert F. Potter, Annie Lang, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


This study assessed relationships among individual differences in trait motivational reactivity, executive functioning, and neurovisceral regulation of emotion and attention indexed via resting heart rate variability (rHRV). We derived predictions regarding these relationships according to neurovisceral neural network theory. Because lower rHRV has been suggested as an endophenotype of less adaptive behaviour, low rHRV individuals were predicted to have high aversive and low appetitive trait motivational reactivity, while high rHRV individuals were predicted to have high reactivity in both appetitive and aversive motivational systems. These predictions were supported. Motivational reactivity also was related to executive functioning deficits, although the pattern of results was not in the predicted direction. Results suggest that trait motivational reactivity scores are related to visceral responses proposed in the neurovisceral integration circuit as well as in the modulation of these responses by higher-order cognitive control systems related to executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015


  • Executive functioning
  • Individual differences
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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