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Posted on August 29th, 2012, by

The research of the correlation between the heart rate and the severity of motion sickness is very important because people need to know what the risk factors of the development of motion sickness and consistent heart rate increase are. In this respect, it should be said that there have been a number of researches conducted in this field and the research conducted by Sharon R. Holmes and Michael J. Griffin, entitled “Correlation between heart rate and the severity of motion sickness caused by optokinetic stimulation”¯, is particularly noteworthy. In actuality, the researches attempted to understand the extent to which the motion sickness can influence the functioning of heart through change of the heart rate under the impact of optokinetic stimulation, which contributed to the development of the sever motion sickness.

Basically, the research conducted by Holmes and Griffin focused their attention on the research of responses of subjects of the study on the impact of optokinetic stimulation. By means of the optokinetic stimulation the researches provoked the sever motion sickness and measures heart rate. In such a way, they attempted to find out possible correlations between the heart rate and the motion sickness. The researchers selected a group of subjects which has undergone experiments involving the optokinetic stimulation. On the basis of measurements made prior and during the stimulation, the researchers made their findings and conclusions. On analyzing the findings of their study, the researchers arrived to the conclusion that a simple measure of heart rate may be a useful indicator of small changes in the degree of sickness.

Basically, the study was well-designed and organized. The researchers have selected a group of 40 subjects, which has undergone the optokinetic stimulation. It is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the researchers paid a lot of attention to the group selection since the group was comprised of 20 males and 20 females. In such a way, the researchers ensured the equal gender representation of subjects in the experiment. The latter is extremely important because the optokinetic stimulation could have a different effect on males and females.

As a result, due to the equal representation of males and females in the experiment, the researchers could arrive to reliable and adequate results, at least in regard to effects of otokinetic stimulation and correlation between the severe motion sickness and heart rate on representatives of both genders.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that the researchers selected young subjects mainly. The age of subjects varied from 19 to 26, for both males and females, while the average age of the male group was 22,0 years and the average age of the female group was 22,4 years. In this respect, it should be said that such a selection of subjects was probably justified by health concerns. To put it more precisely, young people involved in the experiment were healthy and at the optimal age to afford such experiments. In fact, at this age the human body is already developed and, as a rule, the physical shape of an individual is ideal or close to ideal. Therefore, the researchers could count for the normal outcomes of the experiment for the subjects’ health since the experiment was unlikely to have a negative impact on the health of the young people which underwent the optokinetic stimulation.

On the other hand, the selection of such an age group may be viewed as a limitation of the study because it is obvious that effects of the optokinetic stimulation on older or younger subjects could be different, while the heart rate and its correlation to the severe motion sickness could vary too. For instance, the heart rate in children is often higher compared to adults, but the researchers studied young adults only. Moreover, they arrived to the conclusion that the change in the heart rate, even if the change is slight, may be an indicator of changes in the degree of sickness. In such a context, it is likely that the higher heart rate in children could be misinterpret as an indicator of the motion sickness, because such a rate may be a norm for a child but abnormal for an adult involved in the experiment. Similarly, the elder people can have less stable heart rate which may vary under the impact of various factors, not only because of the motion sickness. Hence, the results obtained by the researchers are mainly applicable to and reliable in regard to young adults, while in regard to people of a different age these findings may be uncertain.

Nevertheless, the findings of the research are important since they do reveal the correlation between the heart rate and the severe motion sickness. In such a way, on the ground of these findings, it is possible to develop effective methods of prevention of the motion sickness or minimization of its negative effects since the sooner the motion sickness is identified the easier it can be prevented or treated. In addition, the findings of Holmes and Griffin are particularly noteworthy in relation to the further motion sickness research because the researchers have proved that it is a complex physiological process which can affect different organs of human body, such as heart.

Research Proposal

At the same time, the research is important not only from physiological but also from psychological point of view because the study conducted by Holmes and Griffin reveal the physiological aspects of the motion sickness and its development, which may be measured by the heart rate. However, the study pays little attention to psychological aspects, which may also influence substantially both the heart rate and the severe motion sickness. Consequently, the further study of the psychological effects of the heart rate and the motion sickness and their correlation may be very important. For instance, it is a well-known fact that strong emotions stimulate the high heart rates, while the growth of the heart rate is an indicator of the degree of motion sickness, as Holmes and Griffin have already found out.

The new research should focus on psychological factors which can influence the heart rate and its correlation to the severe motion sickness.

Hence, the main objective of the study is the impact of strong emotions on the heart rate and its correlation to motion sickness. In terms of this research, it is necessary to create two groups, one of which will be a control group. The subjects will undergo a serious of experiments in which their emotional state will vary from positive to negative, at each stage the heart rate should be measured. At the same time, it is possible to introduce elements of the experiment conducted by Holmes and Griffin to reveal whether the change of the heart rate is the reliable indicator of the motion sickness.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the study conducted by Holmes and Griffin is very important and contributes to the better understanding of the correlation between the heart rate and the severe motion sickness. Basically, the findings of the study are reliable, though there are certain limitations as the lack of information on effects of the experiment on different age groups.

Nevertheless, the findings can be used in further studies.

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