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  • Author or Editor: F Köteles x
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Effects of inhaled essential oils (EOs) cannot be explained by pharmacological mechanisms alone. The study aimed to investigate the effects of pleasantness of and expectancies evoked by EOs. A double-blind experiment with a within-subject design was carried out with the participation of 33 volunteering adults (15.2% male; mean age 37.7 ± 10.90 years). Participants were exposed to three EOs (rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus) for three minutes in a quasi-random order, expectations were simply assessed prior to exposure. Subjective (perceived) changes in alertness, heart rate (HR), and blood pressure (BP), and objective changes in HR, BP, and indices of heart rate variability were recorded. Significant group-level differences in changes in alertness and no differences for the cardiovascular variables were found. Participants’ expectations predicted changes in alertness in the case of rosemary and lavender oils but had no impact on cardiovascular variables. EOs’ pleasantness had no effect on any assessed variable. Perceived changes in BP and HR were not related to the respective objective changes but were connected to perceived changes in alertness. Expectancies play an important role in the subjective effects of inhaled EOs. Perceived subjective changes are used to estimate changes in non-conscious (e.g., visceral) states.

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Body sensations play an essential role in the subjective evaluation of our physical health, illness, and healing. They are impacted by peripheral somatic and external processes, but they are also heavily modulated by mental processes, e.g., attention, motor control, and emotion. Body sensations, such as tingling, numbness, pulse, and warmth, can emerge due to simply focusing attention on a body part. It is however an open question, if these sensations are connected with actual peripheral changes or happen “only in the mind.” Here, we first tested whether the intensity of such attention-related body sensations is related to autonomic and somatomotor physiological processes and to psychological traits. In this study, attention-related body sensations were not significantly connected to changes in physiology, except warmth sensation, which was linked to decrease in muscle tension. Overall intensity of tingling significantly correlated with body awareness and tendentiously with body–mind practice. This strengthened the hypothesis that attention-related body sensations are more the result of top–down functions, and the connection with peripheral processes is weak. Here, we suggested a novel protocol to examine the effect of manipulating attention on body sensations, which together with our results and discussion can inspire future researches.

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Impact of 5 mg/kg caffeine, chance of receiving caffeine (stimulus expectancies), and expectations of effects of caffeine (response expectancies) on objective (heart rate (HR), systolic/diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP), measures of heart rate variability (HRV), and reaction time (RT)) and subjective variables were investigated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment with a no-treatment group. Participants were 107 undergraduate university students (mean age 22.3 ± 3.96 years). Consumption of 5 mg/kg caffeine had an impact on participants’ SBP, standard deviation of normal heartbeat intervals, HR (decrease), and subjective experience 40 minutes later even after controlling for respective baseline values, stimulus and response expectancies, and habitual caffeine consumption. No effects on DBP, high frequency component of HRV, the ratio of low- and high-frequency, and RT were found. Beyond actual caffeine intake, response expectancy score was also a determinant of subjective experience which refers to a placebo component in the total effect. Actual autonomic (SBP, HR) changes and somatosensory amplification tendency, however, had no significant impact on subjective experience. Placebo reaction plays a role in the subjective changes caused by caffeine consumption but it has no impact on objective variables. Conditional vs deceptive administration of caffeine (i.e. stimulus expectancies) had no impact on any assessed variable.

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Purpose

Proprioception plays an essential role in motor control and in psychological functioning: it is the basis of body schema and the feeling of body ownership. There are individual differences in the processing accuracy of proprioceptive stimuli. Although proprioceptive acuity plays an important role in physical competence, there are contradictory findings concerning the role it plays in healthy psychological functioning. This study aims to shed more light on this association.

Material and methods

Sixty-eight young adults participated in this study. We estimated proprioceptive acuity by the reposition accuracy of elbow joint positions. We tested both dominant and non-dominant hands with two different versions of Joint Position Reproduction Test. Perceived physical competence, body awareness, and affectivity were assessed using questionnaires (Physical Competence scale of Body Consciousness Questionnaire, Somatic Absorption Scale, and Positive and Negative Affectivity Schedule, respectively).

Results

No significant association between proprioceptive acuity and body awareness, perceived body competence, and positive and negative affect was found.

Conclusion

Proprioceptive acuity, measured in the elbow joint, does not play a substantial role in body awareness, perceived body competence, and affect.

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Polar watches with heart rate monitoring function have become popular among recreational and professional athletes. In addition to monitoring functions, they calculate a specific index called OwnIndex which is claimed to measure aerobic training status. The current research attempted to shed light on the factors determining the OwnIndex. In Study 1, OwnIndex calculated by the RS-400 Polar watch was estimated using anthropometric (gender, age, height, weight), cardiovascular (resting HR, RMSSD), and exercise-related (maximal oxygen uptake, self-reported physical activity) data of 45 young adults. In Study 2, the OwnIndex was measured in 21 young adults twice, first with self-reported physical activity set to the lowest, then to the highest value. In the regression analysis (Study 1), the only significant predictor of OwnIndex was self-reported physical activity (R2 = 0.883; β = 0.915, p < 0.001). A significant difference with a large effect size (t(20) = −16.657, p <0.001, d = 3.635) and no significant correlation (r = −0.32; p = 0.155) were found between the OwnIndices calculated with different levels of activity in Study 2. As anthropometric and cardiac variables play a practically negligible role in the calculation of the OwnIndex, it cannot be considered an appropriate measure of aerobic fitness.

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