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Human Physiology Lab

Human Physiology Lab - An Investigative Look At How Heart...

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An Investigative Look At How Heart Rate Affects Reaction Time By Yontii Wheeler Lab Partners: Harleen Sohi and Ami Shah Professor Doebel BISC 012 Due: Friday April 23, 2010
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Introduction There are many views on whether reaction time is increased or decreased if a person’s heart rate is increased. This lab experiment was created in order to investigate this question further. Heart rate is defined as the number of heart beats per minute or the number of times a heart contracts per minute. A resting heart rate is the number of beats in one minute when a person is at complete rest. A person that is well conditioned has fewer beats per minute, an indication that it takes less effort to pump blood to that person’s body at rest. (Bozeman, 1998). A person’s heart rate increases more as the level of activity increases. For example, walking makes a person’s heart rate increase however running or doing jumping jacks makes a person’s heart rate increase to a faster pace in a shorter amount of time. You can measure heart rate by taking a person’s pulse at radial or carotid arteries. Heart rate can also be measured using an electrocardiogram (ECG); this machine measures and analyzes heart rate (Fitmed, 2008). Reaction time is defined as the time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the behavioral response (Mac, 2000). This investigation uses a simple reaction time experiment however there are many different tools that can be used to measure a person’s reaction time. In a simple reaction time experiment there is only one stimulus and one response. Some factors that influence reaction time are arousal or state of attention. It has been shown that reaction time is faster with an intermediate level of arousal and deteriorates when subjects are too relaxed or tense (Kodinski, 2009). It has also been shown that reaction time decreases or the speed of reaction recognition increases after exercise and therefore with an increased heart rate. This was shown after participants’ reaction times were tested before and after exercise. The reaction time of the participants decreased significantly after exercising (Etnyre Kinugasa et al., 2002). When exercise occurs, the body releases adrenaline, which prepares the body for fight or flight. This then activates certain bodily responses including pupil dilation. Pupil dilation increases the amount of light entering the eye and therefore should make a participant have a decreased reaction time. The alternative hypothesis is that as a participant’s heart rate increases, his or her reaction time decreases. The null hypothesis is that a participant’s heart rate has no affect on his or her reaction time. Materials and Methods Background information, age, weight, and sex were obtained from each participant. The logistics of the experiment and how it would be carried out were explained to each participant. Participants sat in a chair for 5 minutes. The resting heart rate of each participant was measured by counting the number of beats felt at the radial artery in 30 seconds (at wrist). The participants resting heart rates were recorded. Participants reaction
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Human Physiology Lab - An Investigative Look At How Heart...

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