Research Paper Title
Relation between cardiac vagal tone and performance in male military personnel exposed to high stress: three prospective studies.
Vagal tone has been proposed both as an index of emotion regulation and cognitive ability.
To assess the relation between vagal tone and emotion regulation and cognitive ability, the present research prospectively measured vagal tone (measured either as high-frequency spectral power or respiratory sinus arrhythmia) in healthy participants exposed to high stress.
The participants were active duty military personnel (men) enrolled in high intensity military training:
- Survival School (Experiments 1 and 3); and
- Combat Diver Qualification Course (Experiment 2).
The researchers consistently observed a significant relationship between low vagal tone and superior performance.
The data suggest that vagal suppression is associated with enhanced performance under conditions of high stress and that this enhanced performance may be related to emotion regulation and cognitive functioning.
Morgan, C.A. 3rd., Aikins, D.E., Steffian, G., Coric, V. & Southwick, S. (2007) Relation between cardiac vagal tone and performance in male military personnel exposed to high stress: three prospective studies. Pyschophysiology. 44(1), pp.120-127.