Wheeling Jesuit University

University Study Published in European Journal of Behavior Analysis

WHEELING, WV, March 13, 2012 -- A study on runners and their ability to estimate their heart rate as they workout on a treadmill conducted by Wheeling Jesuit University Psychology Professor Dr. Michael Kirkpatrick was published in the winter issue of the European Journal of Behavior Analysis.

The fitness-based study was funded by a NASA space consortium grant and co-authored with WJU alumnus, Andrew S. Groves '11 of Wheeling.

The findings from this study may be useful for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, according to Kirkpatrick and Groves. The American Heart Association recommends exercising within a range of "target" heart rates to maximize cardiovascular benefits without overdoing it.

"The next step in this research is to test whether exercisers can learn to estimate or control their heart rate during their normal fitness routines outside the laboratory," Kirkpatrick said.

"The effects of verbal feedback on runners' ability to accurately estimate their heart rate (HR) was assessed in a reversal-replication (ABAB) design with staggered, multiple baselines among ten participants who ran on a treadmill wearing a portable heart rate monitor. Five were trained to discriminate or estimate their heart rate," Kirkpatrick wrote.

The text of the article published in the European Journal continues, "Treadmill speeds varied every two minutes and participants guessed their heart rate at one-minute intervals. During the verbal feedback intervention, runners were told their actual heart rate after each guess. Differentiation training proceeded similarly for the remaining five participants, except that they adjusted their running speed to produce experimenter-selected heart rate values. New targets were provided every two minutes. Diminished average estimation error following the training provided evidence that the differentiation learning worked."

The European Journal of Behavior Analysis (EJOBA; ISSN-1502-1149) is published by the Norwegian Association for Behavior Analysis and is primarily for the original publication of experimental reports and theoretical/conceptual papers relevant to the analysis of the behavior of individual organisms.

Professor Kirkpatrick has been with Wheeling Jesuit since fall of 2006 and earned his tenure in 2010. He earned both his doctoral and master degrees in psychology at the University of Mississippi and his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and psychology at Lynchburg College, Va.

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