People’s heart rates synchronize when they are listening to story. A new study reveals that your heart rate fluctuates, naturally, even when you are just attentively listening to a story on the radio and this synchronization only occurs when you are paying attention to the story.
The researchers behind this new study explored the role of attention in synchronizing participants' heart rates. During the research, participants listened to an audiobook of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The investigators found that healthy volunteers’ heart rate changed based on what was happening in the story. The researchers measured their heart rates by electrocardiogram (EKG).
The participants showed increases and decreases in their heart rate at the same points in the narrative.
The findings from the study are reported on September 14 in the journal Cell Reports.
According to the investigators, this connection is not about emotions but about being engaged and attentive and thinking about what will happen next in the story. Your heart responds to those signals from the brain.
"This study is still very preliminary, but you can imagine this being an easy test that could be implemented to measure brain function," co-senior author Jacobo Sitt, a researcher at the Paris Brain Institute and Inserm said. He notes, “Much more validation is needed with larger numbers of patients as well as comparisons to accepted tests of brain function like EEGs and fMRIs. This is something his group is continuing to study.”