Heart Rate Variability: Articles, Psychophysiological Researches.

31.03.2012 [ Russian Version ]

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The heart rate - it is a chaos and regularity, the noise and the signal that carry information about the physiological and psychological states of human ...
The results of studies of the heart rate dynamics in the psychophysiological laboratory of Atom Energy Training Center, Novovoronezh, Russia. The head - Mashin V.A.
For the physiologists and psychophysiologists working in the field of the heart rate variability analysis.
Heart rate graph


Mashin V.A. Heart Rate Variability: The Three-factor model of HRV in investigations of human functional states. LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG, 2012. 580 p.

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The book cover
The operator functional states are an important factor affecting the reliability of operator activities. This book presents research in the field of evaluation and monitoring of operator functional states by means of heart rate variability (HRV). Based on the three-factor model of HRV, the classification of functional states is described; the effects of various mental workload on the dynamics of the functional states are analyzed; criteria for the differential diagnosis of monotony, fatigue, overload and overdrive are proposed; a procedure for assessing the sustainability of the operator to the effects of stress factors is developed; anxiety states in a situation of mission-critical are examined. The proposed approach can be useful in the development of adaptive automation systems (management level of mental workload of the operator); to evaluate the effectiveness of information display systems, control systems and support the operator activities; to assess the effectiveness of the operator simulator training; to evaluate the effectiveness of preventive measures for the correction of negative functional states; for differential diagnosis of various anxiety disorders, including clinical forms.
Key words: anxiety, Heart Rate Variability, functional state, emotional sustainability, workload

  • Mashin V.A. The questions of operator functional states classification. Experimental Psychology, 2011. Vol. 4. N 1. P. 40-56. Article (in Russian)

    The different approaches to operator functional states classification are considered. The functional states classification in terms of three-factor model of heart rate variability is used inherently comparative analysis. This model reflects the modern data about neurophysiological regulation of performance and behaviour. It enables to diagnose the functional states both at impact the different psychoemotional workloads and under their absence. The functional states classifications on basis of operating efficiency (capacity for work) and mental strain (effort costs) are applied in comparative analysis. It is shown the theoretical and operational uncertainty these conceptions obstructing classification and diagnostics of the functional states, as well as limitation their using by only field of professional activity.
    Key words: functional state, classification, mental strain, mental workload, heart rate variability.

  • Mashin V.A. The methodical questions of the factor analysis application in psychophysiological researches. Experimental Psychology, 2010. N 4. P. 119-138. Article (in Russian)

    The methodical questions of the factor analysis of heart rate spectrum were considered: the multivariate normal assumption, factorability of an intercorrelation matrix, criteria for determining the number of factors, validity of the factor analysis model. In the study were used unnormalized and normalized variables, the matrices of Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation coefficients. In process of the factor analysis (Principle components method, Varimax Rotation) the restrictions and the possibility of the different statistical criteria and procedures were explored. Meaning of the selected factors and possibility of the use the intercorrelation matrix of Spearman coefficients for unnormalized variables were considered.
    Key words: factor analysis, heart rate spectrum, normal distribution, goodness-of-fit tests, Pearson's and Spearman's correlation coefficients.
  • Mashin V.A. Factor analysis of heart rate spectrum. Biophysics. 2011. Vol. 56, No. 2. P. 328-341 Article (in Russian)


  • Mashin V.A. Cross-cultural study of the functional states dynamics during mental and emotion workload. Experimental Psychology, 2010. N 2. P. 5-21. Article (in Russian)

    By means of three-factor model of heart rate variability the dynamics of functional classes was analyzed in homogeneous groups of Russian (N=169, mean age = 24.7, SD = 2.20 years), Iranian (N=150, mean age = 25.9, SD = 2.15 years) and China (N=104, mean age = 25.0, SD = 2.07 years) healthy male subjects. The functional classes were investigated during professional selection of atomic station operators. ECG recordings were made before task (emotional impact of forthcoming test), during mental task (mental impact of workload) and recovery (emotional impact of test results). The classification of functional classes in terms of three-factor model of heart rate variability was presented. The differences of the dynamics of functional classes in groups on three periods were described. The specific features of the dynamics of emotional arousal functional classes and mental strain functional classes were attended.
    Key words: cross-cultural studies, professional selection, emotional and mental workload, classification of functional states, emotional arousal, mental strain, heart rate variability.

  • Mashin V.A. The report "Three-factor model of heart rate variability in psychological investigations of operator functional states". The psychological faculty, Moscow State University of the name Lomonosov, 22 april 2009. Presentation. Ed. 2010.03.17 (in Russian)

    Three-factor model of heart rate variability for diagnostics of operator functional states influencing upon reliability of his activity are presented. The studies of emotional stability, the mental workloads, the anxiety states by three-factor model of heart rate variability are generalised.
    Key words: mental workload, mental strain, functional states, fatigue, monotony, anxiety, fear, three-factor model of heart rate variability.

  • Mashin V.A. Three-factor model of heart rate variability in psychological investigations of operator functional states. (Materials of Doctoral Dissertation, Ed. 25.02.2010, 290 p.) (in Russian)


  • Mashin V.A. Mental workload, mental strain and functional states of the operators of control systems. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2007, Nо 6, p. 86-96. Article (in Russian)

    The connection between the notions of mental workload, mental strain and functional state concepts, considering application of the three-factor model of the heart rate variability to studying operators' functional states is considered. The author defines two types of functional states, which negatively affect efficiency and reliability of activity. They are mental overstrain and emotional overexcitation. States of fatigue, monotony, anxiety and fear are analyzed from the point of view of the three-factor model of the heart rate variability.
    Key words: mental workload, mental strain, operator functional states, fatigue, monotony, anxiety, fear, heart rate variability.

  • Mashin V.A. Analysis of operator functional states by three-factor model of heart rate variability. Presentation at the International Scientific-Practical Conference "Human Factor of Nuclear Power and Industry Safety", 17-20 sep., 2007, Obninsk, Russia, 17 p. Report (in Russian)

    KeyWords: Human Reliability, Human Errors, Mental Workload, Operator Functional State, Monotonia, Mental Overstrain, Emotional Excitation, Fatigue, Heart Rate Variability, Ergonomics, Adaptive Automation, Latest Controlling and Viewing Means, Working Place Conditions, Job Strain, Estimation of Training, Three-Factor Model of Heart Rate Variability.

  • Mashin V.A. Three-factor model of heart rate variability. Part I: Analysis of mental workload in simulated operator activity. In: Proceedings of Psychological Service in Nuclear Energetics and Industry. Vol.3. Obninsk: 'IG-SOCIN', 2007, p. 181-189. Article (in Russian)

    By three-factor model of heart rate variability (HRV) is explored the functional states dynamics and HRV indexes of 84 healthy subjects under different mental workload levels. The levels of mental workload were assigned tasks of the Shulte-Gorbov test (moderate and high levels). Baseline recording were conducted before test. Statistically significant differences of functional states frequencies for all mental workload levels were found. According to the functional states dynamics under different mental workload levels the two groups were extracted: (1) - with dominance of arousal states (12 subjects), (2) - with dominance of strain states (25 subjects). The comparative analysis of HRV indexes dynamics (time, frequency domains and heart rate graph) was made. High statistically significant differences between groups on every mental workload levels were received. Analysis of HRV indexes for every groups has allowed to define the indexes sensitive to different mental workload levels. The importance of the control of arousal states at analysis of mental workload was underlining. The three-factor model of HRV for distinguishing of monotonia and fatigue was offered.
    Key words: mental workload, heart rate variability, factor model, functional states.

  • Mashin V.A. Three-factor model of heart rate variability. Part II: Analysis of anxiety states in simulated operator activity. In: Proceedings of Psychological Service in Nuclear Energetics and Industry. Vol.3. Obninsk: 'IG-SOCIN', 2007, p. 190-198. Article (in Russian)

    By factor model of heart rate variability (HRV) is explored anxiety states are induced mental stressor in healthy subjects during professional selection of 64 healthy subjects. The functional states dynamics is investigated during baseline, before task (anticipation), mental task (Shulte-Gorbov test) and recovery periods. Factor model of HRV are applied for assessment of the functional states. High frequency of functional states with dominance of emotional excitement was diagnosed during anticipation and recovery periods. The effect of different functional states on efficiency of task performing and the connection of functional states during anticipation and recovery periods with MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) data were confirmed. The comparative analysis of HRV indexes dynamics (time, frequency domains and heart rate graph) for different functional states was made. The complex dynamics of functional states on different periods was underlining.
    Key words: anxiety states, factor model, heart rate variability, functional states, mental stressor, MMPI.

  • Mashin V.A. Nonstationarity and Duration of the Cardiac Interval Time Series in Assessing the Functional State of Operator Personnel. Biophysics, 2007, Vol. 52, No. 2, p. 241–247. Article (on English)

    The influence of nonstationarity in the time series of cardiac intervals on the assessment of the functional state (FS) of operator personnel was analyzed with a three-factor model of heart rhythm variability (HRV). ECG recordings were made in supine position at rest and in the sedentary position before and after important operator testing. In all three cases, the FS assessments were not influenced by nonstationarity of the input data. The effect of nonstationarity was also negligible for some particular HRV indices. Reliable assessments could be obtained from relatively short samples (256 down to 32 RR intervals) with prior norming of the factor indices for the corresponding segment length. The influence of the time series duration on the HRV indices was examined in various FSs; stable indices and proper recording conditions were determined.
    Key words: stationarity of series, R-R segment duration, functional states, heart rate variability.

  • Mashin V.A. The Relationship of the Slope of the Heart Rate Graph Regression with Linear and Nonlinear Heart Rate Dynamics in Stationary Short-time Series. Biophysics, 2006, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 471–479. Article (on English)

    The relationship of the slope of the heart rate graph regression curve (b1) with periodic (linear) and nonlinear heart rate dynamics has been studied in stationary short-time series (256 points). For estimating nonlinear dynamics, a parameter derived from correlation dimension has been used, which has made it possible to estimate chaotic processes in short-time series. According to the results of the study, the heart rate dynamics in short-time series may be represented as a sum of linear (periodic) and nonlinear (stochastic) processes. The relationships of b1 with both the linear and the nonlinear heart rate dynamics have been demonstrated. Equations for calculating the absolute and relative (to the periodic oscillation amplitude) noises in the heart rate dynamics in short-time series are proposed. Stochastic nonlinear dynamics in different physiological states of humans have been compared. It has been found that the increase in the relative noise intensity in the heart rate dynamics with an increase in respiration rate is determined not only by the decrease in the amplitude of respiratory waves, but also by an increase in the amplitude of the noise itself. The absolute noise intensity is decreased in the states of neurotic excitement, fatigue, and, especially, mental stress. In the state of rest, nonlinear (stochastic) processes dominate over linear (periodic) ones.

  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. Professional selection of atomic station operators. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2005 March-April; 2:52-56. Article (in Russian)

    Reliability of the operator is the main requirement in a modern technological environment. Professional selection is one of the principal methods of obtaining the desired level of reliability. The paper describes a procedure for professional selection of atomic station operators (the psychological aspect), which takes into account sociopsychological, psychological and psychophysiological factors.

  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. The functional state classification and evaluation of the stability level in mental loads based on the factor structure of heart rate variability parameters. Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova. 2004 Dec;90(12):1508-21. Article (in Russian)

    In the given paper outcomes of the researches devoted to factor analysis of heart rate variability parameters and definition of the most informative parameters for diagnostics of functional states and an evaluation of level of stability to mental loads are submitted. Factor structure of parameters, which includes an integrated level of heart rate variability (1), balance between activity of vagus and cortico-limbic systems of brain (2), an integrated level of cardiovascular system functioning (3) is justified. Factor analysis outcomes have been used for construction of functional states classification, for their differential diagnostics, and also for development and check of algorithm for an evaluation of level of stability to mental loads.
    Keywords: heart rate variability, factor analysis, functional states, psycho-emotional stability.
  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. Factor analysis of heart rate graph parameters. In: Proceedings of Psychological Service in Nuclear Energetics and Industry. Vol.1. Obninsk: ONIC 'Prognoz', 2002, p. 82-88. Article (in Russian)

    In given article are presented the results of factor analysis of parameters of heart rate graph (HRG) structure. Three main factors are reflecting HRG variability in LF-domain (the level of mental effort), in HF-domain (vagus activity, the level of sinus respiratory arrhythmia) and level of uncertainty (the chaos dynamics) of HRG were chosen. Regression equations for factor values were used for analysis and differential diagnostics of functional states (mental strain, neurotic excitement, fatigue), as well as for estimation of stress-stability level of candidates on operative activity. For estimation of stress-stability level the parameters of efficiency of the test tasks performing were in addition attracted. The results demonstrate the efficiency using the parameters of HRG structure for differential diagnostics of functional states and estimations of the stress-stability level of NPP personnel.
    Keywords: parameters of heart rate graph structure, factor analysis, differential diagnostics of functional states, estimation of stress-stability level.

  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. Studying variability of heart rate in different functional states with the help of the graph method. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2002 March-April; 2:99-111. Article (in Russian)

    The article describes a method of studying dynamics of heart contractions in different functional states on the principles of the graph theory. The main indices of the structure of the heart rate graph were identified and analyzed with the help of 'white noise' models. The indices have proved effective in diagnosing a number of functional states. On the basis of the notion of entropy the authors formulate a generalized model of the variation of the indices at different levels of the psychological activity of an organism.

  • Mashin V.A. Dependency of characteristics of heart rate variability on the average value of the R-R-intervals. Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova. 2002 Jul;88(7):851-5. Article (in Russian)

    By the means of spectral analysis, dependency of heart rate variability (HRV) on average R-R-intervals (R-Rav, sec) is explored at controlled (forced) breathing. According to our findings, the dependency of the peak frequency at a spectral density graph for source series of R-R-intervals upon the RRav may be presented by the following formula: fp1.0 = fp : RRav, where fp1.0 - peak frequency when R-Rav = 1.0 sec, fp - peak frequency at current R-Rav. For correcting (standardization) the frequency domain borders of spectral power (fd) of sources series of the R-Rav-intervals it is possible to use the formula: fd = fd1.0*R-Rav, where fd1.0 - frequency domain border at R-Rav = 1.0 sec. The correction (standardization) of frequency domain borders of spectral power (fd), frequency peaks (fp1.0) of sources series of the R-Rav-intervals as compared to current R-Rav allows to compare different series of the R-Rav-intervals without using the transformation to the discrete event series (DES).
    Key words: heart rate variability, spectral analysis, controlled breathing, correction of spectral frequency, source and discrete event series

  • Mashin V.A. Analysis of heart rate variability based on the graph method. Human Physiology, Volume 28, Number 4, July 2002, pp. 437-447(11). Article (on English)

    A method of analysis of heart rate variability based on the graph theory principle was suggested. The main parameters of the heart rate graph structure were determined and analyzed using models of harmonic oscillations, white noise, and various functional tests (including controllable respiration and mental load). The efficiency of the use of parameters of the heart rate graph for diagnosing some functional states was considered. A correlation of the parameters of the heart rate graph structure with the frequency characteristics of heart rate variability was studied. A general model of changes in the heart rate graph structure parameters at different levels of mental activity was constructed in terms of entropy changes.
    Key words: heart rate variability, graph theory, non-linear dynamics of heart rate.
  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. Heart rate variability analysis as an index of psychological relaxation. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2001 Jan-Feb; 1:72-81. Article (in Russian)

    The results of psychophysiological study and those of spectral analysis of heart rate variability during psychological relaxation of atomic power station operators account for physiological indicators for the negative states such as neurotization, depression, functional reserve reduction. Heart rate variability figures based on spectral analysis to define the level of centralization, vegetative balance and the total spectre capacity showing the functional reserve. Spectral analysis high efficiency use to govern and monitor the psychological relaxation is demonstrated.

  • Mashin V.A. Microstructural analysis of heart rate variability in simulated operator activity. In: Proceedings of International Scientific-Practical Conference 'Human factors and nuclear safety'. 24-26 Oct. 2000, Russia. Obninsk: ONIC 'Prognoz', 2001, p. 147-148. Report (in Russian)

    Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) is a noninvasive method for estimate of cardiac autonomic nervous function. But heart period modulations are very not stable during the simulated operator activity. For decision the problem of 'stationarity' are presented the microstructural analysis of heart rate variability method. On the basis of simulated operator activity and interval tachogram analysis the very short stationarity RR-interval segments (10-30 seconds) are derived. These segments were 'cloning' in 256 data point of RR-intervals and very low- (VLF), low- (LF) and high frequency (HF) components of HRV were calculated by power spectral analysis, by use fast Fourier transform (FFT). The purpose of this article was to demonstrate possibility of the microstructural analysis of heart rate variability method for estimation of simulated operator activity.

  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N. Heart rate variability analysis of negative functional states in the course of psychological relaxation sessions. Human Physiology, 2000, 26(4):420-425. Article (on English)

    The aim of this study was to compare the effects of psychological relaxation on the heart rate variability (HRV) in subjects with a number of negative functional states: asthenia, depression, and neurotic symptoms. The analysis performed allowed us to reveal the dynamics of the HRV variables characteristic of each negative functional state and to determine indicators, which are significant for their diagnosis. The effectiveness of using HRV analysis for the control and management of the psychological relaxation process and the diagnosis of a number of negative functional states in humans is substantiated by the study results.

  • Mashin V.A., Mashina M.N., Shmeleva I.A. Psychophysiological researches of emotional lability in nuclear power station personnel. Voprosy Psikhologii, 1997 July-August; 4: 95-103. Article (in Russian)

    The necessity to work out the effective methods of evaluation of emotional lability for professional diagnostics in order to form individual programmes for professonal improvement and psychological assistance for self-development in atomic power station personnel is substantiated. The results of experimental study of emotional lability by psychophisiological means (heart rate variability analysis) are presented.



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