Simulated Human Diving And Heart Rate: Making The Most Of The Diving Response As A Laboratory Exercise

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Advances In Physiology Education


Laboratory exercises in which students examine the human diving response are widely used in high school and college biology courses despite the experience of some instructors that the response is unreliably produced in the classroom. Our experience with this exercise demonstrates that the bradycardia associated with the diving response is a robust effect that can easily be measured by students without any sophisticated measurement technology. We discuss measures that maximize the success of the exercise by reducing individual variation, designing experiments that are minimally affected by change in the response over time, collecting data in appropriate time increments, and applying the most powerful statistical analysis. Emphasis is placed on pedagogical opportunities for using this exercise to teach general principles of physiology, experimental design, and data analysis. Data collected by students, background information for instructors, a discussion of the relevance of the diving reflex to humans, suggestions for additional experiments, and thought questions with sample answers are included.


This work has been provided to PubMed Central courtesy of the American Physiological Society.