What Is Heart Rate Variability (HRV)?

Heart Rate Variability is another ‘biometric’ becoming widely used by market researchers to quantify the affective and cognitive processes of consumers. HRV is the measurement of the variability of time between an individual’s heartbeats. With advancements in technology, this can be measured using wearable and portable electrocardiogram (ECG) devices (such as fitness monitors and Apple watches), allowing researchers to evaluate the physiological arousal to brand and product information.

What Is Heart Rate Variability Vision One

The Science behind HRV

HRV analyses cardiovascular activity which is controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System – a bodily function that is well known to be directly affected by mental and emotional states. We know that the rhythm of the heart is irregular, but research shows that this heart rhythm pattern is affected by our feelings and emotions. In general, emotional stress – including emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety (negative emotions) – gives rise to heart rhythm patterns that appear irregular and erratic. The HRV waveform looks like a series of uneven, jagged peaks. In contrast, positive emotions send a very different signal throughout our body. When we experience positive emotions such as appreciation, joy, care, and love, our heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave. HRV varies from personal to person, which is why it is important to look at our own baseline and monitor deviations from this baseline. Key benefits are using HRV in market research are;

  • It is an objective, non–invasive tool to explore arousal
  • It is temporally precise
  • Scalable collections of cardiac activity data in different contexts
  • Ecological (real-world conditions)

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