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How Heart rate, Respiratory Rate, and EDA Change in Certain Situations.

Andrew Lira
Introduction
For this experiment my lab group and I ran a polygraph test on our test subject. The
polygraph test measured our subjects heart rate, breaths per minute (BPM), and their
electrodermal activity (EDA) responses to different stimuli. For each segment we would get a
baseline, meaning to have something to compare the numbers to when all the the questions for
the segment were completed. We did this for each of the segment. Our hypothesis was that
counting in prime numbers increased the heart rate, therefore being proved false due to our
observation. So asking the subject to count in prime numbers, then the heart rate will increase.
Heart rate increased and decreased in certain situations, it actually decreased when the subjects
was asked to count in prime numbers. Thus leading to the answer of our question, how would the
heart rate change if a person is asked to count in prime numbers?
The study consisted of three different Segments. The first being simple counting, asking
subject to say her name quietly and touching her face without her knowing it was going to
happen. The second segment consisted of the coordinator showing the subject different colored
paper. And finally, the last segment was based on a true or false questionnaire. Throughout the
experiments different observations and patterns were spotted. Observations such as how the heart
rate, breaths per minute, and the EDA changed when showing the subject different colors.
Overall the experiment is really interesting due to the fact that we get to know how specific body
functions/organs react in certain situations.

Methods
For this experiment we ran three different segments to see how the heart rate,
respiratory rate and the EDA respond to different stimuli. After feeling comfortable with the
polygraph and how to record properly, my group and I ran our own experiment. After hooking up
our subject to the polygraph, a test exam was ran to make sure everything was recording
properly. We hypothesized that counting in prime numbers would increase the subjects heart
rate. If the subject counts in prime numbers, then the heart rate will change. Usually people have
to put thought into the idea of counting in prime numbers, then leading to an increase of heart
rate. The dependent variable for the experiment was the heart rate, and the independent variable
would be the counting of the prime numbers. The controlled variables would be the Baseline,
questions, and our subject that is getting tested. Getting the baseline for the experiment is
important to compare the control to the end results. The questions need to stay consistent for
more accuracy, and the subject needs to be the same person because each person is different.
Results
After getting the baseline, we went on to do the experiment on counting prime
numbers. According to the test results the heart rate decreased, the breaths per minute decreased,
and the EDA increased. The baseline heart rate was 68.96 and decreased to 66.6. The amounts of
breaths per minute decreased as well.
Discussion
The results of the test we composed did not support our hypothesis. We believed
that asking the subject to count in prime numbers would add stress to her, thus making her heart
rate increase. With our hypothesis being wrong, that meant that our prediction was wrong as

well. Maybe our subject was comfortable counting in prime numbers, thus making her relax and
lowering her heart rate, or not changing at all. An experiment called Effects of Work Stress on
Ambulatory Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Heart Rate Variability stated, No difference in
HR during sleep and nonworkday. (Vrijkotte et al. 2000). That statement shows how people
who are relaxed have no change in heart rate. Earlier in the experiment they also claimed that
people who are stressed have higher heart rates (Vrijkotte et al. 2000). The heart rate baseline for
counting prime numbers was 68.9. After counting the prime numbers the heart rate went down to
66.6. The change is not big but it still went down. We only conducted the experiment once, this
was a flaw because if we would have done some more test, perhaps our hypothesis would had
been proven right. The subject loosened up some of the equipment that was hooked on her, that
could had possibly altered our results. Being realistic, we dont know if counting in prime
numbers stresses people. For an alternate experiment I would do a more stressful experiment and
do more than one test. If the test subject is under stress, then the heart rate will increase. If the
person is relaxed, then the heart rate will decrease.

Baseline Heart Rate Vs. Counting Prime Numbers Heart Rate

Figure 1.1 shows the amount of Heart Beats per minute and both the baseline and the Counting
of prime numbers.
References
Vrijkotte, Tanja GM, Lorenz JP van Doornen, and Eco JC de Geus. "Effects of work stress on
ambulatory blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability." Hypertension 35.4 (2000): 880886.