Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 19, Iss. 2, April, 2015, pp. 101-110
@2015 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences

 
 
 

Heart Rate Complexity and Attentional Orienting: A New Look at the Role of Vagal Tone

Maria Balle, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
Alfonso Morillas, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
Miquel Tortella-Feliu, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
Xavier Bornas, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

Abstract: This study is aimed at elucidating (a) whether heart rate (HR) complexity measures are associated with the attentional orienting function, and (b) which of these measures better predicts orienting efficiency indexes. Vagal tone, sample entropy, scaling exponents ?1 and ?2, and fractal dimension (FD) were calculated in HR time series (n=109). Vagal tone, entropy, and FD were positively associated with orienting, while this association was negative for ?2. These results show that HR scaling properties, which underlie the role of vagal tone and reflect allometric control mechanisms, are associated with orienting deficits. FD was the best predictor of attentional orienting.

Keywords: attentional orienting, heart rate, scaling, allometric control