Gottman s social psychophysiological research protocol
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Gottman’s Social-Psychophysiological Research Protocol. Gottman, J. M., Katz, L. F., & Hooven, C. (1997). Meta-emotion: How families communicate emotionally . Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Introduction.

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Gottman’s Social-Psychophysiological Research Protocol

Gottman, J. M., Katz, L. F., & Hooven, C. (1997). Meta-emotion: How families communicate emotionally. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Introduction l.jpg

  • In Gottman’s protocol, participants complete self-report instruments, participate in a semi-structured interview that investigates attitudes about emotions, and discuss topics of conflict in a laboratory setting.

  • The laboratory interactions are videotaped and physiological arousal is measured.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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Semi-Structured Interview

  • The emotion interview is based on the semi-structured meta-emotion interview developed by Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues.

  • It measures participants’

    • experience of sadness;

    • experience of anger;

    • philosophy of emotional expression and control;

    • parents’ feelings, attitudes, and responses to their child’s anger and sadness.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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Observational Measures of Marital Interaction

  • Participants are videotaped having a low-conflict conversation and a high-conflict conversation.

  • Three dimensions of marital interaction are measured:

    • Rapid Couple Interaction Scoring System. The Rapid Couple Interaction Scoring System (RCISS) is a coding system that identifies problem-solving behavior using a checklist to code behaviors of speaker and listener for each spoken turn.

    • Specific Affect Coding System. The Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) is a rating system that relies on coders to evaluate verbal content, voice tone, context, facial expression, and nonverbal body language to assess expressed affect.

    • Emotional Facial Action Coding System. The Emotional Facial Action Coding System (EMFACS) assesses emotional expressions and non-emotional expressions that are used to control facial expressions.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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Physiological Measurement

  • During each of the laboratory interactions, three aspects of physiological arousal are measured for each participant: (a) heart rate, (b) skin conductance, and (c) respiration.

  • These physiological variables provide information about level of physiological arousal and parasympathetic functioning of the participant.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson