Blood volume pulse (BVP) derived vagal tone (VT) between 5 and 7 years of age: A methodological investigation of measurement and longitudinal stability
The present study evaluated the possibility of collecting cardiac vagal tone data using a photoplethysmograph, and its stability and continuity in a longitudinal sample of early-school aged children. A method for the optical (i.e., blood volume pulse) estimation of heart rate was established in a pilot study. Then the longitudinal stability and continuity in photoplethysmograph-derived vagal tone was assessed in 114 children (56 girls) at three sessions between 5 and 7 years of age. Results indicate that this method possesses substantial measurement reliability and individual stability, as children report low intra-individual variation over time. Children also report a mean decrease in vagal tone from 5 to 7 years of age, consistent with increased attentional capacity. Overall, this suggests blood volume pulse estimation of vagal tone is both accurate and appropriate for naturalistic developmental research.
Heathers, J. A. J., Fink, E., Kuhnert, R. & de Rosnay, M. (2014). Blood volume pulse (BVP) derived vagal tone (VT) between 5 and 7 years of age: A methodological investigation of measurement and longitudinal stability. Developmental Psychobiology, 56 (1), 23-35.