Respiratory sinus arrhythmia in response to fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant stimuli.

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Abstract

Heart period variability and heart rate were studied in 15 women and 15 men while they were viewing negatively (snakes/spiders), neutrally (scenic views), and positively (cats and kittens/puppies and dogs) valenced films. Time-frequency analyses of the heart period variability power spectrum in the high frequency region (0.12-0.4 Hz), reflecting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), were carried out during 5 minutes in each condition. The main finding showed that RSA-magnitude (high frequency power) was inversely related to emotional valence: lowest magnitudes were found in response to positive films, and highest magnitude to negative films. The findings were interpreted as reflecting motor or behavioral inhibition, and increased attention to negatively valenced, stimuli.

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  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume49
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes