Heart Rate Variability: A Personal Journey

Author: Stephen W Porges1,2
1 Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, USA. sporges@indiana.edu.
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA. sporges@indiana.edu.
Conference/Journal: Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback
Date published: 2022 Sep 22
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s10484-022-09559-x. , Word Count: 184

Heart rate variabfility (HRV) has been a focal point throughout my academic history. To put into perspective, I have published studies spanning seven decades focusing on HRV (1969-2022). My interest in HRV started early in graduate school and continues to be an important portal informing my theoretical perspective. The current paper tracks some of this history, which started as an empirical observation and moved through several scientific stages including development of quantitative methods and investigations of neural mechanisms. Along this journey a variety of hypotheses were tested including the relative sensitivity of HRV metrics to neural mechanisms, psychological processes, and medical diagnoses. In addition, the research led to the identification of portal of intervention that have become strategies to optimize mental and physical health. These apparent disparate programs of inquiry have been tightly merged as the Polyvagal Theory evolved. In the sections below, I have shared my personal journey through these stages of scientific inquiry and my attempts to integrate the new knowledge in an expansive theoretical model.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate variability; Polyvagal Theory; Vagus.

PMID: 36136145 DOI: 10.1007/s10484-022-09559-x