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    Growing evidence indicates the presence of racial differences in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) functioning, yet the nature of these differences is unclear and appears to vary across different indices of SNS activity. Moreover, racial differences among commonly used indices of SNS activity are under-investigated. This systematic review examines racial differences among widely used resting SNS indices, such as electrodermal activity (EDA), pre-ejection period (PEP), and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA). Our review reveals that Black participants have consistently been found to display lower resting EDA compared to White participants. The few studies that have investigated or reported racial differences in PEP and sAA yield mixed findings about whether racial differences exist. We discuss potential reasons for racial differences in SNS activity, such as index-specific factors, lab confounds, psychosocial environmental factors, and their interactions. We outline a framework characterizing possible contributors to racial differences in SNS functioning. Lastly, we highlight the implications of several definitional, analytic, and interpretive issues concerning the treatment of group differences in psychophysiological activity and provide future recommendations. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Li Shen Chong, Betty Lin, Elana Gordis. Racial differences in sympathetic nervous system indicators: Implications and challenges for research. Biological psychology. 2023 Feb;177:108496

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    PMID: 36641137

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