Heart Rate Differences between Targets and Nontargets in Intuitive Tasks
This study reports the results of one experiment and a replication, aimed at investigating heart rate changes related to a purely intuitive task. In each experiment, 12 subjects were required to guess which of four pictures presented in sequence for about 10 s was the target. Each subject performed 20 trials. In each trial, the target was automatically selected using a pseudorandom algorithm. The heart rate was recorded during the picture presentation. In the first experiment, a statistically significant heart rate increment associated with targets with respect to nontargets was observed. The replication experiment with 12 new subjects confirmed the data obtained in the main experiment. These findings support the hypothesis that heart rate is related not only to conscious but also to unconscious cognitive activity such as that involved in intuitive tasks, giving convergent evidence for the models describing human intuitive cognitive activity as a double, partially independent information processing system.
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