University of Oulu

Wikström, V.; Falcon, M.; Martikainen, S.; Pejoska, J.; Durall, E.; Bauters, M.; Saarikivi, K. Heart Rate Sharing at the Workplace. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2021, 5, 60.

Heart rate sharing at the workplace

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Author: Wikström, Valtteri1; Falcon, Mari1; Martikainen, Silja1;
Organizations: 1Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
2Learning Environments Research Group, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
3INTERACT Research Unit, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
4School of Digital Technologies, Tallinn University, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-16


Augmenting online interpersonal communication with biosignals, often in the form of heart rate sharing, has shown promise in increasing affiliation, feelings of closeness, and intimacy. Increasing empathetic awareness in the professional domain and in the customer interface could benefit both customer and employee satisfaction, but heart rate sharing in this context needs to consider issues around physiological monitoring of employees, appropriate level of intimacy, as well as the productivity outlook. In this study, we explore heart rate sharing at the workplace and study its effects on task performance. Altogether, 124 participants completed a collaborative visual guidance task using a chat box with heart rate visualization. Participants’ feedback about heart rate sharing reveal themes such as a stronger sense of human contact and increased self-reflection, but also raise concerns around unnecessity, intimacy, privacy and negative interpretations. Live heart rate was always measured, but to investigate the effect of heart rate sharing on task performance, half of the customers were told that they were seeing a recording, and half were told that they were seeing the advisor’s live heart beat. We found a negative link between awareness and task performance. We also found that higher ratings of usefulness of the heart rate visualization were associated with increased feelings of closeness. These results reveal that intimacy and privacy issues are particularly important for heart rate sharing in professional contexts, that preference modulates the effects of heart rate sharing on social closeness, and that heart rate sharing may have a negative effect on performance.

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Series: Multimodal technologies and interaction
ISSN: 2414-4088
ISSN-E: 2414-4088
ISSN-L: 2414-4088
Volume: 5
Issue: 10
Article number: 60
DOI: 10.3390/mti5100060
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This research was funded by grants from Business Finland and Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth’s foundation.
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (