Effects of exogenous changes in heart rate on facilitation of thought and resistance to persuasion

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Abstract

Conducted 2 experiments to examine the effects of accelerated heart rate (HR) on information processing and resistance to persuasion. Exp I addressed the effects on cognitive performance of manipulating HR exogenously for brief periods. 14 healthy outpatient volunteers wearing implanted demand-type cardiac pacemakers performed reading comprehension and sentence generation tasks while HR was either accelerated or not. Results show that performance was better when HR was accelerated than when it was not. Exp II addressed the effects on counterargumentation and resistance to persuasion of manipulating HR using the cardiac-pacing technique employed in Exp I. 22 Ss read highly involving counterattitudinal communications while their HR was either ostensibly or actually accelerated. Accelerated HR resulted in the generation of more total thoughts and counterarguments than did basal HR; resistance to persuasion was related significantly to the number of counterarguments generated. The methodology provides a means by which social psychologists can study the effects on social processes of actual but unperceived changes in physiological processes. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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