The Effects of Heart Rate Variability on Reading Performance among Iranian EFL Learners

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Psychophysiological studies and MRI neuro-imaging findings provide evidence that heart rate variability (HRV) which is in control of our emotions affects our brain cognitive centers. It has been shown that coherent heart-brain interaction can change the pattern of the afferent cardiac input that is sent to the brain. For this purpose, the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) has proposed a kind of biofeedback training, the TestEdge program, which self-regulates negative emotional learning impediments by increasing HRV measures. It leads to an optimal self-generated psychophysiological state that has an important role in cognitive development through autonomic nervous system dynamics. In the present study, through using IHM self-regulated techniques and tools, the TestEdge program was performed on 63 Iranian EFL learners. In particular, the main purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of HRV measures on reading comprehension performance. The data was measured and recorded by emWave Desktop device. The results confirmed that the intentional heart-focus techniques led to a beneficial mode of psychophysiological coherence of heart-brain interaction. The results indicated significant differences among EFL students with different levels of high, mid, and low coherence and their reading performance.


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