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cmcgowan's picture

Wake me up! Before you go go! BEATS PER MINUTE.

We didn't have one hypothesis overall, but instead introduced different variables and created hypotheses for each.

(We did not get to do as many trials as we would have liked to, but our thumb pressure reader thing was malfunctioning. We did fix this, however.)

Rachel's regular BPM was 75.

VARIABLE ONE: Holding breath. We did two parts for each trial: one while holding breath, and one immediately after, each for 30 s. We hypothesized that while Rachel held her breath, her BPM would slow down to "ration" the oxygen she had, and immediately after exhaling her BPM would speed up to compensate.

Trial One, part one: 37 BPM

Part two: 48 BPM

This was done with the first, malfunctioning thumb pressure reader. We essentially discarded this data, but have informally reported it here.

Trial 2.1: 70 BPM

Part 2.2: Immediately after stopping holding her breath, Rachel's BPM dropped to 40, then jumped to 100 BPM, leveled off to 80

Trial 3.1: 70 BPM

Part 3.2: Initial drop to 30, then rose to 95, and leveled off at 80.

Therefore, our hypothesis was correct. We did not anticipate, however, the initial drop in BPM in part two of each trial. We believe this may be because once Rachel exhaled, she had less oxygen than even before. So, before her BPM could regularize itself, it had to "readjust."

SECOND VARIABLE: Hilarious you-tube videos.

Hypothesis: Rachel's BPM would raise while watching the videos because excitement and BPM have a positive correlation.

Rachel's BPM rose about 5 to 80 BPM. The you-tube videos did not have as much of an effect as we anticipated (we thought her laughter and the anticipation of seeing something reliably amusing would raise it further). But perhaps, because she was too familiar with them (and the pretense of the experimental setting) affected the data.


Hypothesis: Rachel's BPM would raise substantially due to the rockin' sounds of punk-rock goddess Patti Smith.

Rachel's BPM, again, rose about 5 to 80 BPM. While it did raise a bit more (about 85) during particularly loud or quick segments, this result was, like our youtube variable, not as high as we had anticipated.

FOURTH VARIABLE: Rachel's reaction to University of Florida/John Kerry tasing video.

Hypothesis: Rachel's BPM would raise a lot because this video is disturbing, sad, and troubling.

In this case, Rachel's BPM did raise substantially: off the charts, to above 100. It had small spurts, perhaps related to Rachel knowing what would happen in the video (she was familiar with the story), but still being unable to anticipate the full volatility of her reaction.

We would have liked to perform more experiments (and perhaps with more participants) if we'd had more time. It would be interesting to see differing reactions to some of these variables as, for example, Andy had never heard of Patti Smith, and perhaps other participants would not have been so upset (or more upset) by the tasing video.


Andy, Caitlin, and Rachel


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