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Variabilité cardiaque de haute fréquence et comportements prosociaux : Approche causale de la théorie polyvagale

Abstract : The polyvagal theory (Porges, 2007) proposes physiological flexibility as thecorrelate of socio-emotional skills. This physiological flexibility is partially determined by heart-brain interactions measurable by heart rate variability of high frequency (HF-HRV). According to this theory, higher HF-HRV should be associated with better perception of emotions and more prosocial behaviors. If more and more data tend to support this proposal, no experiment allowed to accurately test these hypotheses. We therefore carried-out a set of studies in order to test them. In a first study, we tested the link between HF-HRV and prosocial behavior measured by the level of cooperation. HF-HRV level predicted the level of cooperation but in a specific context. Our second study was designed to test the link between HF-HRV and perception of emotions. Here, the HF-HRV level did not predict better performance in recognition ofemotions. We then wanted to test a possible causal link existing between HF-HRV and prosociality. For this we performed an experiment (Study 3) to manipulate HF-HRV by biofeedback. Biofeedback increased HF-HRV levels but only in low baseline individuals. Study 4 tested whether manipulating HF-HRV by biofeedback could modulate the behavior of cooperation. We did not replicate our findings about the effectiveness of biofeedback and therefore did not observe any effect on cooperation. The fifth and final study allowed to test whether manipulating prosociality modulated the level of HF-HRV. We did not observe any effect of our experimental manipulation on HF-HRV. In conclusion, the prediction made by the polyvagal theory about the link between HF-HRV and prosocial behaviors is corroborated by empirical data but data does not support the link between the perception of emotions and HF-HRV. Short-term experimental manipulations did not reveal any causal relationship between HF-HRV and prosocial behaviors.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 12:37:09 PM
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Brice Beffara. Variabilité cardiaque de haute fréquence et comportements prosociaux : Approche causale de la théorie polyvagale. Psychologie. Université Grenoble Alpes; Université catholique de Louvain (1970-..), 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAS020⟩. ⟨tel-01691751⟩

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