Toronto Metropolitan University
Ein_Natalie.pdf (2.09 MB)

Does visual exposure to one's pet regulate stress levels during the mental arithmetic task?

Download (2.09 MB)
posted on 2021-05-23, 17:18 authored by Natalie Ein
This thesis examined the role of viewing a picture of one’s pet as a mechanism for alleviating the symptoms of stress. The mental arithmetic task (MAT), a psychosocial stressor was used to induce stress. Participants were randomly assigned into one of six visual conditions: either a picture of their personal pet (n = 9), an unfamiliar animal (n = 9), a person who is supportive and important to the participant (n = 9), an unfamiliar person to the participant (n =8), a pleasant image (control 1) (n = 8) or no image (control 2) (n = 8). Stress reactivity, both physical (e.g., blood pressure) and subjective (self-reported anxiety), were measured. Findings indicated that contrary to the hypothesis, viewing a picture of one’s personal pet did not reduce stress reactivity, measured either subjectively (self-report) or objectively (physiological assessment). However, the study suggests that various images can influence stress reactivity.





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Kristin Vickers