Heart and Emotion

Heart and Emotion

Ambulatory Monitoring Studies in Everyday Life

Edited by: Michael Myrtek

Heart and Emotion (PDF)
ISBN: 9781616762865
1st edition 2004, 211 pages
Out of print
Heart and Emotion

The connection between acute emotional arousal and heart rate is well known, both from poetry and from the evolutionary survival reflex known as the fight-flight reaction. The connection between stress and disease is also well known. What is less well known is that the heart reacts to nearly all stimuli, independently of physical exertion, during both the day and the night. These changes, known collectively as the “additional heart rate” or AHR, are mostly unconscious and to date have been hard or impossible to study in real life.

This book first presents a revolutionary new technique for monitoring and analyzing the additional heart rate during everyday life, and then goes on to show that contemporary theories about emotion, stress, and disease are no longer tenable. This technique, the Freiburg Monitoring System, allows heart rate changes not associated with physical activity to be assessed objectively, in real-life situations, and to be compared with individuals’ subjective feelings at the time.

After describing the relevant models and the foundations of the technique, the book then moves on to present the most important results of recent research using the Freiburg Monitoring System. This has involved more than 1,300 subjects of various ages, both male and female, including white and blue collar workers, train and bus drivers, dispatchers, university students, schoolchildren, heart disease patients, and patients with cardiac neurosis and rheumatic diseases, and has looked at topics such as the perception of emotions, the perception of the heart in healthy subjects and patients, stress and strain at the workplace and during leisure time, and physiological monitoring during the night.

Table of Contents

Definitions and models

Emotion • A look at emotion research • Methods in emotion research • Evolutionary aspects • Concepts related to emotion • Motivation • Stress • Work load: Theoretical background • Total work load • Physical work load • Emotional work load • Mental work load • Summary

Basic physiological principles

Nervous control of the heart • Parasympathetic fibers (nervus vagus) • Sympathetic nerves • Central control of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems • Afferent fibers in the ANS • Epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla • Neurophysiology of emotion • Summary


Freiburg Monitoring System (FMS) • Apparatus • ECG leads • Physical activity • On-line analysis of additional heart rate (AHR) • Other ECG parameters • Heart rate variability (MSSD) • P-wave amplitude • ST-segment amplitude and ischemic episodes • Assessment of behavior and subjective state • Baseline • Data analysis • Samples monitored with the FMS • Patients • Healthy subjects • Reliability of the FMS • Short-term reliability • Long-term reliability (stability coefficients) • Validity of the FMS • Within-subject correlations • Induction of emotional arousal in laboratory experiments • Funny and erotic movies • "The silence of the lambs" • Testing hypotheses of expected differences between segments • Daytime versus nighttime • Sitting versus standing versus walking • Working time versus leisure time • Staying at school/university versus staying at home • Social contacts with peers versus social contacts with strangers • High versus low TV consumption • Special aspects of AHR • Distribution • Age dependency of AHR • AHR: Emotional or mental work load? • Reaction time paradigm • Reciting a neutral text or discussing an emotional theme • Discussion • Summary


Some findings from the literature • Cardiac perception in healthy subjects • Perception of AHR in healthy subjects • The influence of cognitive schemas on perception • Cardiac perception in patients • Perception of AHR in patients • Asymptomatic and symptomatic myocardial infarction • Discussion of the AMI and SMI results • Emotional arousal, ischemic episodes, and angina pectoris • Interoception in patients with cardiac neurosis and controls • Discussion • Summary

Perception of emotions

Frequency and quality of emotions • Emotional differences between true and random feedbacks and for different social contacts • Physiological profiles of different emotions • Accuracy of the perception of emotional arousal • Influence of personality dimensions on emotions reported • Discussion • Summary

Stress and strain at the workplace

Work load in train drivers, bus drivers, and dispatchers • Work load in train drivers • Work load in bus drivers • Work load in dispatchers • Work load in white and blue collar workers • Work load in university students • First study • Replication study • Work load in schoolboys • Discussion • Train drivers, bus drivers, and dispatchers • White and blue collar workers • University students • Schoolboys • Summary

Stress and strain during leisure time

Work versus leisure time in train drivers, bus drivers, and dispatchers • Work versus leisure time in white and blue collar workers • Effects of television viewing in schoolboys • Driving a car • White and blue collar workers • Male university students • Stress at the amusement park • Discussion • Summary

Physiological monitoring during the night

Hypotheses • Results • Discussion • Summary

General discussion

Methodological considerations • Interoception and emotions • Stress and strain • Stress at the workplace • Stress during leisure time • Monitoring during sleep • Conclusions

Summary • References • Authors index • Subject index

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