More Heartmath analysis

February 22, 2006 at 1:21 pm | Posted in skepticism | Leave a comment

In my previous analysis on the Heartmath article about predicting the future I already showed that with a very simple model it’s easy to predict that future, because of their faulty test set-up. I have given this some more thought and instead of running the simulation I derived mathematical formulas for the chance of predicting the future.

Remember that this is possible because they don’t use real random sequences. In an ideal random sequence you would only have 50 % chance of predicting that future, regardless whether it would be a calm or stimulating picture. No need for advanced math in that case.
Ok, the formulas:

To predict the next picture this chance is 2/3*(7n ^2-n-1)/(3n-1)^2, where n is the number of stimulating pictures. In the limiting case (n going to infinity) this becomes 14/27, which is larger than 50%. This is already an important result, but things become even more interesting when we look at the difference between predictions of calm or stimulating pictures.

For calm pictures the chance is 5n^2/(3n-1)^2. For n going to infinity this becomes 5/9. and for the stimulating pictures the chance is (4n^2-2n)/(3n-1)^2. This is 4/9 for n going to infinity.

What we see here is a major difference in the chance of predicting the next picture. No wonder that with such a difference your brain (note carefully that I don’t say heart here) reacts differently, thus leading to a different heartrate. Would be nice if people would apply simple principles like Ockam’s raisor first, before thinking about holistic nonsense.

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