Heart rate variability and cortisol responses during attentional and working memory tasks in naval cadets
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The aim of the project was to study the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol release during cognitive challenging tasks. Forty-nine male naval cadets from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy were administered computerised versions of attentional and working memory tests. The results from this study support the hypothesis of a negative correlation between HRV and cortisol secretion during cognitive tasks. Confirmation of the hypothesis with the low HRV group scoring higher on cortisol only during performance of cognitive tasks and recovery was also found. Furthermore, a replication of the previous findings of a negative association between cortisol levels and performance were supported when using uncorrected comparisons. None of the correlations survived Bonferonin corrections. The findings are discussed in relation to factors increasing HRV thus improving tolerance to cognitive stress in onboard environments.