The aims of this study were 1) to assess the predictive role of coping related variables (CRV) on cardiac vagal activity (derived from heart rate variability), and 2) to investigate the influence of CRV (including cardiac vagal activity) on a dart throwing task under low pressure (LP) and high pressure (HP) conditions. Participants (n = 51) completed trait CRV questionnaires: Decision Specific Reinvestment Scale, Movement Specific Reinvestment Scale and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire. They competed in a dart throwing task under LP and HP conditions. Cardiac vagal activity measurements were taken at resting, task and during recovery for 5 min. Self-reported ratings of stress were recorded at three time points via a visual analogue scale. Upon completion of the task, self-report measures of motivation, stress appraisal, attention, perceived pressure and dart throwing experience were completed. Results indicated that resting cardiac vagal activity had no predictors. Task cardiac vagal activity was predicted by resting cardiac vagal activity in both pressure conditions with the addition of a trait CRV in HP. Post task cardiac vagal activity was predicted by resting cardiac vagal activity in both conditions with the addition of a trait CRV in HP. Cardiac vagal reactivity (difference from resting to task) was predicted by a trait CRV in HP conditions. Cardiac vagal recovery (difference from task to post task) was predicted by a state CRV only in LP. Dart throwing task performance was predicted by a combination of both CRV and cardiac vagal activity. The current research suggests that coping related variables and cardiac vagal activity influence dart throwing task performance differently dependent on pressure condition.
Mosley, E., Laborde, S., & Kavangah , E. (2017). The contribution of coping related variables and cardiac vagal activity on the performance of a dart throwing task under pressure. Physiology and Behavior, 179, 116-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.05.030