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.
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