Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding

Bradley M. Appelhans, Linda Luecken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1279 Scopus citations


The study of individual differences in emotional responding can provide considerable insight into interpersonal dynamics and the etiology of psychopathology. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is emerging as an objective measure of regulated emotional responding (generating emotional responses of appropriate timing and magnitude). This review provides a theoretical and empirical rationale for the use of HRV as an index of individual differences in regulated emotional responding. Two major theoretical frameworks that articulate the role of HRV in emotional responding are presented, and relevant empirical literature is reviewed. The case is made that HRV is an accessible research tool that can increase the understanding of emotion in social and psychopathological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Affect
  • Emotion
  • Heart rate variability
  • Psychopathology
  • Social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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