Rejection Can Lower Heart Rate


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb. 14 (UPI) — Learning that someone doesn’t like you triggers a drop in heart rate, University of Amsterdam researchers found.

Researchers asked 27 student volunteers ages 18-25 — 18 female, 9 male — to submit photos of themselves. The students were told this was for a study on first impressions, but in fact it was a step in simulating conditions for the real experiment.

Later, the students were hooked up to a heart rate monitor and shown images of other students whom they believed had seen their photos.

They were asked to guess whether another student liked them or not — and were fairly optimistic overall. On average, they believed they would be liked 57 percent of the time.

When the volunteers anticipated a positive outcome, but instead were rejected — a computer generated response — their heart rate dropped by 10 percent.

A slight drop in heart rate would probably have no health consequence — but a larger drop might cause lightheadedness, nausea, sweating and even fainting, the researchers said.

Someone with underlying heart problems could be prone to a more severe reaction, and while people can’t always avoid life’s emotional slings and arrows, we can keep our heart in top shape through diet and exercise, the researchers advised.

Choose bananas for potassium to lower blood pressure, fiber to regulate cholesterol and vitamin C to prevent oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol.

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