Are Our Hearts Gendered? Men & Women Have Different Heart Rhythms When Thinking About Choices
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Are Our Hearts Gendered? Men & Women Have Different Heart Rhythms When Thinking About Choices

14 May Are Our Hearts Gendered? Men & Women Have Different Heart Rhythms When Thinking About Choices

Choice Compass is not your average decision making app created for entertainment purposes. The research behind its algorithms is extensive and ongoing, often inspiring further exploration that is advantageous not only to the improvement of Choice Compass, but to the scientific community, especially in fields where matters of gender differentiation and the mind body connection are relevant.

In both the original (beta) and current versions of Choice Compass, the instructions for the app recommended that users calibrate the application to ensure the highest level of accuracy. Calibrating the tool is simple: Enter, “I choose to feel miserable,” into one choice value and “I choose to celebrate life,” in the other, and run the comparison three to four times. For the original version of Choice Compass, for some users, the app sometimes selected, “I choose to feel miserable,” the majority of the time. Dr. Mossbridge, the Research Director at Mossbridge Institute, LLC, wasn’t sure why. “It was consistent, but consistently wrong!”

After testing the application for a period of time and receiving feedback from users, a trend became apparent to the researchers behind Choice Compass: An overwhelming majority of individuals identifying themselves as “males” and “postmenopausal females” found, after calibration, that it was necessary to reverse their answers. With deeper investigation, it was confirmed that heart rhythm is dictated by gendered hormones: two sets of subjects — one set of males and the other of pre-menopausal females — watched positive- and negative-choice videos and had their heart-rhythm responses recorded as they watched. Upon analysis, it was found that the majority of men’s and women’s heart rhythms were almost diametrically opposed — whereas most women responded to a positive-choice video with a peak rhythm, most men responded with a dip rhythm, and vice versa when watching a negative-choice video.

It is not yet known why men and women have nearly opposing heart-rhythm responses to the same stimulus. However, the repeated results across multiple testing sets have lead to speculation and further inquiry. The most well-supported guess, thus far, holds that hormone differences between genders are responsible.

Research has shown that progesterone, a hormone that exists at higher levels in most genetic women than in most genetic men, influences heart rate rhythms throughout women’s menstrual cycles. This theory is further supported by the knowledge that postmenopausal women generally have markedly lower progesterone levels than are present in pre-menopausal women. When viewing the positive- and negative-choice videos, the heart-rhythm responses of this group of women bore much more similarity to those of individuals identifying themselves as “male.” However, this theory cannot be verified until further research is conducted involving more postmenopausal women.

This gender differentiation between responses has opened the door to numerous other matters that implore deeper consideration, such as how heart rhythms vary in response to other types of stimuli, inciting more complex emotional reactions; the effect of transgender identity on heart rhythm responses; and effects that different phases a woman’s menstrual cycle bear on her heart-rhythm responses.

Though the full reasons behind it are not yet clear, the makers of Choice Compass have recently updated this excellent tool to reflect the now-evident difference between genders. As a result, they’ve created two different algorithms — one for men and one for women — each according to the mathematical features of the heart rhythm that best differentiate positive from negative choices during testing, and added a corresponding choice for gender selection in the user profile. To ensure the greatest degree of accuracy, users are still advised to calibrate their device; if Choice Compass selects “I choose to feel miserable,” the majority of the time, under one gender, users simply need to switch their gender setting.

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