Influence of beliefs about heart rate and actual heart rate on heartbeat counting

C Ring, J Brener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


The heartbeat counting task is used widely to assess the ability to perceive cardiac sensations. However, performance on this task may be determined by processes other than sensitivity to cardiac stimuli. Beliefs about the effects of postural and exercise challenges on heart rate were assessed by questionnaire prior to performing the heartbeat counting task, and then actual heart rate was manipulated during the counting task by changes in posture and exercise. On average, counted heart rates were closer to beliefs about heart rate than to actual heart rate. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that (a) believed heart rates predicted counted heart rates while controlling for actual heart rates and (b) actual heart rates also predicted counted heart rate while controlling for heart rate beliefs. These data suggest that the rate of heartbeat counting is influenced by beliefs about heart rate and by the processing of cardiac sensations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-6
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996


  • Adult
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Task Performance and Analysis


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