Lateral Differences in the Latency Between Finger Tapping and the Heart Beat

Richard J. Davidson, Mark E. Horowitz, Gary E. Schwartz, David M. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Based upon suggestions that the two cerebral hemispheres may be differentially involved in the perception and regulation of autonomic activity, three studies were designed to explore differences in the relationship between left versus right hand finger tapping and the heartbeat. In each study, right‐handed subjects were asked to tap with either their left versus right forefingers regularly at the rate of approximately once per second. When the time from the R‐spike immediately preceding their tap to the tap was examined, a significant difference between the two hands was obtained in two of the studies, with the left hand tapping closer to the last R‐spike compared with the right. A variety of additional conditions in the experiments suggest that this effect may depend upon tapping rhythmically. The implications of these findings for the differential role of the left and right hemispheres in the perception and regulation of cardiac activity are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981


  • Cardiac activity
  • Hemispheric specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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