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Are you experiencing high levels of stress because of the upcoming US presidential election? With Election Day only days away, there are a variety of factors that can impact voting behaviors and decision-making. Several recent studies using BIOPAC systems investigated the psychophysiological effects of stress, the behaviors of others, and introception on decision-making.

Stress has been shown to be very influential in decision-making. In their study, Yamakawa, Ohira, and Mastunga Isowa (2016) investigated effects of acute stress and risk taking in decision-making. Participants were asked to perform a decision-making choice where they either kept or bet the money they were given. Cardiodynamic activity was measured with ECG using a BIOPAC MP system. Results suggest that with an increase in cortisol, adrenaline, heart rate, and subjective stress, participants were likely to make fewer risky choices. So, high levels of stress may be key in helping make better decisions when selecting a future president.

Perhaps it’s not stress that will influence the choice of the next POTUS (President of the United States), but rather the behaviors of others. Work by Bault, Joffily, Rustichini, and Coricelli (2011) sought to compare private and social decision-making to discover the effect of social comparison on risky choices. The objective of the study was to understand more about how individuals evaluated the outcomes of their decisions in private as opposed to in a social context. Combining data from functional MRI (FMRI) and skin conductance recordings, subjects’ reactions were measured using a BIOPAC MP150 System. Researchers found that participants took significantly longer to make a decision in a social setting than in a private one.

In the end, many feel that it is important to listen to your heart when deciding who you find qualified to be the next president. A study by Dunn et al. (2010) examined whether introception moderates the coupling of bodily responses to emotional experience and intuitive decision-making. Bodily response and heart rate were recorded using a BIOPAC Research System and electrodes to measure introception through changes in heart rate. Researchers found that introception was not related to arousal, valence ratings, or heart rate response to images.

For more information on BIOPAC’s wide range of tools for recording, displaying, and analyzing physiological measurements from human and animal subjects including respiration, heart rate variability, ECG and EDA, visit BIOPAC’s  psychophysiology page and view BIOPAC’s full line of electrodes, amplifiers, and wearable, wireless transmitters and loggers.

BIOPAC Systems, Inc. provides life science researchers and educators with data acquisition and analysis systems that inspire people and enable greater discovery about life. Visit us at www.biopac.com.

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