Researchers at King’s Holloway College conducted an interesting study that showed a connection between heart rate and interlocutor perception during communication. The results were published in the journal Cognition and represent a new perspective on the processes that occur in our brains when communicating with others.
The first experiment, conducted by scientists, consisted of showing participants pictures of strangers either during the systolic phase of the cardiac cycle or during the diastolic phase. They were then asked to rate how trustworthy the faces depicted were. The second phase of the study consisted of measuring the extent to which participants’ opinions changed after receiving social feedback. The subjects had a discussion with another participant, after which they were asked to rate the trustworthy face again.
The results of the study showed that participants changed their opinion more strongly when faces were seen during the systolic phase of the cardiac cycle than when faces were shown between heartbeats. This suggests that heart rate can affect susceptibility to someone else’s influence.
The first few hundred milliseconds after looking at another person’s face are known to determine first impressions. New data show that this impression can vary depending on during which phase of the cardiac cycle the person first sees that face.
This research could have practical applications in a variety of fields. For example, in marketing, the knowledge of how heart rate affects the perception of advertising can be used to create more effective advertising campaigns. Also, this information can be useful in job interviews to draw more accurate conclusions about candidates.
Although this research is not a definitive answer to the question of how heart rate affects perceptions of others, it is a new perspective on the processes that occur in our brains when communicating with others.