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Autonomic measurements labs

The experiments carried out in the Autonomic measurements labs focus on taking autonomic measurements, i.e. heart rate, skin conductance, muscle tension and other physiological variables.

Faraday cage
One of the labs is home to a ‘Faraday cage’, which blocks out external electromagnetic interference. The separate lab space thus created also makes it more soundproof.

The labs are equipped with computers with different types of software. For example, stimulus software provides test participants with images or words, and their physiological responses are measured on another PC and amplifiers. Headphones also allow test participants to listen to sounds, and a rotating table can present participants with various types of food or smells.
The exercise bike in one of the labs is used for physical exertion research. It is equipped with a heart rate monitor, which can take different autonomic measurements when combined with other psycho-physiological instruments. The equipment is mobile and can thus be used in other labs.

An example of research performed in the Autonomic measurements labs is that into ‘food cue reactivity’, which tests how people respond to tasty food. The idea is that some people respond more strongly than others to the sight and smell of such food, through, for example, a higher heart rate, saliva production or stomach contractions. These increased responses are said to predict people’s appetites and increased food intake. The tests use the abovementioned rotating table, which presents participants with different food types. This method is also used for alcoholics, whose physical responses are measured upon seeing their favourite drinks.
The Autonomic measurements labs are also used for studies into the memory, the usefulness of lie detection, and emotions in the field of sexology. In skills training, students learn how to attach electrodes and measure heart rate, for example, in order to measure people’s physical responses to various confronting photographs.
Last modified: Fri, 07/07/2017 - 15:28

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