Heart Rate Variability during a Continuous Performance
Test in Children with Problems of Attention
Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci - Vol 48 - no.1 (2011)
Jacques eisenberg, md, and rafael richman, Phd
Children’s Clinic, Community Mental Hearth Center, Herzog Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
Background: children with impulsive behavior and
poor self regulation have been shown to have low
parasympathetic tone. high vagal tone is associated
with attention to novel stimuli.
Objective: To study if heart rate Variability, an index of
vagal tone, is a mediator of attention.
Method: 77 children who performed a continuous
Performance test (TOVa test) had their eKg recorded
for heart rate Variability measurements. subjects were
assigned to groups according to their performance on
the TOVa test and a general linear model for repeated
measures applied. Pearson correlations were applied
for TOVa scores and hrV Values at four epochs.
Results: no individual correlations were found between
attention scores and hrV. however, there was a significant
group difference showing that good performers had a
higher "vagal" tone than poor performers.
Conclusion: The parasympathetic system as measured
through hrV is not a mediator of attention. hrV may be
an indicator of better health and ability to self regulate.