Listening to your heart beat may control your behavior

April 22, 2015 10:54
Listening to your heart beat may control your behavior

Do you know that our emotions and decisions are linked to our heart beat? It was proved by international team of researchers from University of Cambridge.

“Follow your heart” has become something of a cliche, but we know that, consciously or unconsciously, there is a relationship between our heart rate and our decisions and emotions," said Dr Tristan Bekinschtein, lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

The scientists have examined brain activity 33 volunteers using an electroencephalograph (EEG). The subjects were asked to tap in synchrony as they listened to a regular and then irregular heartbeat. After that they are asked to tap out their own heart beat in synchrony. Then, they were asked to tap out their own heart beat while listening to it through a stethoscope. Finally, the stethoscopes were removed and they were once again asked to tap out their heartbeat.

During the task, when the volunteers were tapping out their heartbeat unaided, they were asked to rate their performance. Once the task was completed, they were asked how much they thought they had improved. Nearly 42% of the subjects have showed significant improvement in their ability to accurately tap along unaided with their heartbeat. In those whose performance had improved, the researchers saw a stronger brain signal known as the 'heartbeat evoked potential' (HEP) across the brain.

In the final part of the test, after the participants had listened to their heartbeat through the stethoscope and were once again tapping unaided - the researchers found differences in brain activity between participants.

They found an increase in 'gamma phase synchrony' - coordinated 'chatter' between different regions in the brain - in only those learners whose subjective judgement of their own performance matched their actual, objective performance.

"We've shown that for just under half of us, training can help us listen to our hearts, but we may not be aware of our progress," said Bekinschtein. "There are techniques such as mindfulness that teach us to be more aware of our bodies, but it will be interesting to see whether people are able to control their emotions better or to make better decisions if they are aware of how their heart is beating", he added.

By Lizitha

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Tagged Under :
Health  Heartbeat  electroencephalograph