Heart Rate Variability in Psychology: A Review of HRV Indices and an Analysis Tutorial

Abstract

The use of heart rate variability (HRV) in research has been greatly popularized over the past decades due to the ease and affordability of HRV collection, coupled with its clinical relevance and significant relationships with psychophysiological constructs and psychopathological disorders. Despite the wide use of electrocardiograms (ECG) in research and advancements in sensor technology, the analytical approach and steps applied to obtain HRV measures can be seen as complex. Thus, this poses a challenge to users who may not have the adequate background knowledge to obtain the HRV indices reliably. To maximize the impact of HRV-related research and its reproducibility, parallel advances in users’ understanding of the indices and the standardization of analysis pipelines in its utility will be crucial. This paper addresses this gap and aims to provide an overview of the most up-to-date and commonly used HRV indices, as well as common research areas in which these indices have proven to be very useful, particularly in psychology. In addition, we also provide a step-by-step guide on how to perform HRV analysis using an integrative neurophysiological toolkit, NeuroKit2.

Publication
Pham, T., Lau, Z. J., Chen, S. H. A., & Makowski, D. (2021). Heart Rate Variability in Psychology: A Review of HRV Indices and an Analysis Tutorial. Sensors, 21(12), 3998. doi:10.3390/s21123998
Tam Pham
Tam Pham
Project Officer

Tam Pham is currently a Project Officer at Clinical Brain Lab. She is working on the neuroscience of deception.

Lau Zen Juen
Lau Zen Juen
Project Officer

Zen Juen is currently a Project Officer at Clinical Brain Lab. She is working on the neuroscience of deception.

Annabel Chen
Annabel Chen
Professor of Psychology
Lab Director

Dr. SH Annabel Chen is a clinical neuropsychologist, and currently a Faculty member of Psychology at the School of Social Sciences.

Dominique Makowski
Dominique Makowski
Presidential Research Fellow

Trained as neuropsychologist and CBT psychotherapist, I am currently working as a researcher at the Clinical Brain Lab in Singapore, on the neuroscience of reality perception.

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