Bearing all this in mind, the first aim of the present study was to characterize the cardiovascular and electroweak activation that occurs prior to public speaking and differentiate these responses from those that occur in situations with similar evaluative threat and mental effort but when no public speaking is anticipated. To this end, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups according to the instructions received in the preparatory erred; one group believed that they had to speak and the other believed that they had to write.
Both groups knew that their performance would be evaluated. All subjects actually performed the same task (speech) in order to assess whether activation of the preparatory period could influence reactivity during the posterior task period. With this strategy, differences between groups in the cardiovascular and/or electroweak responses measured in the preparatory period would affirm that they were due to anticipation of the speech itself and not to the associated evaluative threat and mental effort.
A lack of group differences would indicate that the anticipatory response was likely due to the evaluative threat and/or cognitive aspects common to both tasks. Additionally, differences during the task period would suggest the influence of preparatory activation on reactivity during task performance because all the subjects performed the same task and similar responses should be expected. In the light Of previously described results, we hypothesized greater HRS and lower FOP, when preparing and performing a speech than when preparing and writing an essay.
Formulation of hypothesis grading electroweak activity is limited due to the fact that the scarce studies on public speaking tasks do not compare speech with other evaluated tasks (Knight and Borden, 1979; Epigrapher et al. , 1989). In order to determine whether autonomic differences were associated with different emotional impacts, changes in state-anxiety were also assessed. As has been suggested in previous studies, greater increases in situational anxiety would be found in speech rather than in writing.