Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Michael Spezio

Reader 2

Rory Spence

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Rights Information

© 2016 Hannah Taylor


This study examined the role of specific pattern coloring, such as coloring books for adults, on conceptual, behavioral and physiological measures of anxiety. Undergraduate female students (n = 8) had ECG electrodes and a respiration belt attached and completed the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) at five time points; at baseline, after an initial autobiographical anxiety induction, following a passive relaxation condition, after a repeat induction and then after a coloring condition. The participants were randomly split into a control and experimental group; the control group free colored while the experimental group colored in a mandala pattern. Participants had the option of coloring before bed to test the effect of coloring on sleep onset latency. The electrodes and respiration belt measured heart rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) data and MATLAB transformed the raw data to produce heart rate variability (HRV) values. The self-report data indicated that the manipulation did not induce anxiety and that there was no reduction in anxiety after the coloring conditions. Physiological data indicated that the manipulation successfully induced anxiety, however, there was no significant reduction in anxiety. Although the results of this study were not significant, they suggest that with a larger sample size, it would be possible to see an effect of specific pattern coloring on the reduction of anxiety.