Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Gaylon L. Oswalt
L. Michael Leibowitz
The relationship between physiological response patterns and intellectual deficiencies was investigated by examining heart rate changes during a sustained attention-demanding task with institutionalized mentally retarded adults classified into three different I.Q. levels. The task consisted of simple motor responses made to a visual display within which was "hidden" the stimulus cue of Santa Claus. The findings indicated that changes in the within-trial heart rate response were significantly different between groups. Consistent with previous research on retarded adolescents, the retarded adults in the present study were characterized by a significant increase in heart rate variability upon stimulus onset. However, the high I.Q. group (X I.Q.=61) and the middle I.Q. group (X I.Q.=48) displayed significantly less variability in heart rate within the trials than did the low I.Q. group (X I.Q.=36) who remained well above their base rates. Moreover, measures of latency indicated that the high I.Q. group responded significantly faster to the stimulus cues than did the other two groups. The present findings are discussed in terms of viewing peripheral deficits as manifestations of central nervous system deficits paralleling I.Q.
Granfield, James M., "Cardiac Changes During an Attention-Demanding Task in Mentally Retarded Adults" (1979). Student Work. 97.