The Effect of Sympathetic Nervous System Stimulation on Skeletal Muscle Reflex Response Time
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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The sympathetic response, also known as fight or flight, is a physiological response that occurs due to a perceived threat to survival. It can physiologically be observed through an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen availability, and other mechanisms. In this experiment, we investigate if the fight or flight response induced by an auditory stimuli will quicken reaction time. Thirty participants completed a series of three mazes. A surprise auditory stimuli was played during the third maze to induce a fight or flight response. Throughout the completion of all of the mazes, the respiratory rate and heart rate were measured. After the completion of each maze, participants were asked to complete the Reaction Time Test, which measured response time. It was hypothesized that inducing a fight or flight response, which increases available oxygen and mobilization of energy stores for muscle contraction, would enable muscles to act more quickly resulting in a decreased skeletal muscle response time. A paired t-test with a 95% confidence interval was used to compare all three mazes where a significance criterion of p<0.05 was significant compared to the baseline measurement. Maze 1 to maze 2, maze 1 to maze 3, and maze 2 to maze 3 had p>0.05 indicative that the data did not have a significant difference. Overall, the reaction times were not shown to decrease despite an increase in respiration rate and heart rate among some participants indicative that there was a physiological change in response to the auditory stimuli. However, the physiological changes were not sufficient to cause a decrease in reaction times. Due to the lack of significance in reaction times, the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. Despite the lack of statistical significance, the data can be used to better understand the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the activation in respect to an auditory stimuli.
Sympathetic Nervous System
An article that appeared in JASS, issue 2018