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December has arrived, and for many the holidays bring a rush to check items off of a long shopping list for parents, siblings, friends, in-laws, and many more. Often we struggle to find that “perfect” gift, but are the physical goods we exchange the true source of the warmth and happiness that characterizes the season?

An article by Nomura investigated anxiety induced by gift-giving. To test this, EDA data was recorded with a BIOPAC data acquisition system and STP100 while participants responded to stimuli. The participants visualized a specific relative while being presented with potential gift options, and were asked how likely they were to purchase the potential gift for that relative. The data found that people who self-reported thinking of in-laws were the most stressed, while those who reported thinking of children or same-gender friends were least stressed.

A psychosomatic study by Inagaki and Eisenberger found that mental and physical well-being benefit from forms of social support. They tested this by administering mild shocks with the BIOPAC STMISOLA to male patients who held the hand of a female partner lying in an fMRI. The results suggest that this support (hand-holding) provided possible stress-reduction for both the male and female participants.

Another article on nonverbal communication and well being by Shaltout, et al. tested the effects of meditation and the subsequent ECG, blood pressure, and heart rate effects. The BIOPAC ambulatory BioHarness and NIBP Blood Pressure System gathered data while participants underwent several mediation episodes, during which they were instructed to focus on loving kindness towards a subject. The results found that participants had decreased heart rate.

Research suggests direct, loving interactions with those who are close to us have many stress-reducing benefits. So when you are shopping for gifts, remember that spending time is more important than spending money. To read more studies about love and stress reduction, visit the BIOPAC publication page.

BIOPAC offers a variety of equipment that can be used in studies similar to the ones presented. To find more information on solutions for recording and analyzing signals such as EEG, EMG, respiration, and EDA using the MP160/MP150, MP36, and other platforms, you can visit the individual application pages on the BIOPAC website. 

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

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