Psychologische Forschung

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 277–288 | Cite as

Mental load, heart rate and heart rate variability

  • P. S. Blitz
  • J. Hoogstraten
  • G. Mulder


Several investigators have shown that diminished sinus arrhythmia can be seen as an indication of increased mental load. The present experiment deals with the influence of different levels of mental load, operationalized as the number of binary choices per minute, on the regularity of the heart rate. Also we investigated the influence of four different rest conditions on the regularity of the heart rate.

The results show that sinus arrhythmia scores differentiate significantly between several levels of mental load, but heart frequency appeared to be an even better indicator.

No significant differences were found between the four rest conditions. Stability over three subsequent measurement sessions was satisfactory, and reliability within the measurement periods was very high.


Mehrere Forscher haben gezeigt, daß abnehmende Sinusarrhythmie betrachtet werden kann als ein Indikator zunehmender mentaler Belastung.

In der vorliegenden Untersuchung handelt es sich um den Einfluß verschiedener Niveaus der mentalen Belastung, operationalisiert als die Zahl der binären Wahlen pro Minute, auf die Regelmäßigkeit der Herzfrequenz.

Außerdem untersuchten wir den Einfluß vier verschiedener Ruhezustände auf die Regelmäßigkeit der Herzfrequenz.

Die Ergebnisse zeigen, daß auf Grund Sinusarrhythmiedaten differenziert werden kann zwischen verschiedenen Niveaus mentaler Belastung, aber die Herzfrequenz erweist sich sogar als ein besserer Indikator.

Man stellte keine signifikanten Unterschiede zwischen den vier verschiedenen Ruhezuständen fest.

Die Stabilität während drei verschiedener Meßperioden war befriedigend, und die Zuverlässigkeit der Messungen (reliability) innerhalb der Meßperioden war sehr groß.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. S. Blitz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. Hoogstraten
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Mulder
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ergonomic PsychologyTNOThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Psychologisches LaboratoriumUniversität von AmsterdamAmsterdam-C
  3. 3.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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