Quantification of vascular function changes under different emotion states: A pilot study

Yirong Xia, Licai Yang, Xueqin Mao, Dingchang Zheng, Chengyu Liu

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have indicated that physiological parameters change with different emotion states. This study aimed to quantify the changes of vascular function at different emotion and sub-emotion states. Twenty young subjects were studied with their finger photoplethysmographic (PPG) pulses recorded at three distinct emotion states: natural (1 minute), happiness and sadness (10 minutes for each). Within the period of happiness and sadness emotion states, two sub-emotion states (calmness and outburst) were identified with the synchronously recorded videos. Reflection index (RI) and stiffness index (SI), two widely used indices of vascular function, were derived from the PPG pulses to quantify their differences between three emotion states, as well as between two sub-emotion states. The results showed that, when compared with the natural emotion, RI and SI decreased in both happiness and sadness emotions. The decreases in RI were significant for both happiness and sadness emotions (both P< 0.01), but the decreases in SI was only significant for sadness emotion (P< 0.01). Moreover, for comparing happiness and sadness emotions, there was significant difference in RI (P< 0.01), but not in SI (P= 0.9). In addition, significant larger RI values were observed with the outburst sub-emotion in comparison with the calmness one for both happiness and sadness emotions (both P< 0.01) whereas significant larger SI values were observed with the outburst sub-emotion only in sadness emotion (P< 0.05). Moreover, gender factor hardly influence the RI and SI results for all three emotion measurements. This pilot study confirmed that vascular function changes with diffenrt emotion states could be quantified by the simple PPG measurement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalTechnology and Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Emotion recognition
  • PPG
  • Vascular function
  • Reflection index
  • Stiffness index

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