Noninvasive cardiac psychophysiology as a tool for translational science with marmosets

Ashley M. Murphy, Corinna N. Ross, Eliza Bliss-Moreau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of marmosets for comparative and translational science has grown in recent years because of their relatively rapid development, birth cohorts of twins, family social structure, and genetic tractability. Despite this, they remain understudied in investigations of affective processes. In this methodological note, we establish the validity of using noninvasive commercially available equipment to record cardiac physiology and compute indices of autonomic nervous system activity—a major component of affective processes. Specifically, we recorded electrocardiogram and impedance cardiogram, from which we derived heart rate, respiration rate, measures of high-frequency heart rate variability (indices of parasympathetic autonomic nervous system activity), and ventricular contractility (an index of sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity). Our methods produced physiologically plausible data, and further, animals with increased heart rates during testing were also more reactive to isolation from their social partner and presentation of novel objects, though no relationship was observed between reactivity and specific indices of parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23037
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • affect
  • autonomic nervous system
  • heart rate variability
  • respiratory sinus arrhythmia
  • ventricular contractility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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