Student Innovation & Creativity Showcase for Lansing Community College

The Effects of Fear on Male and Female Heart Rate

The Effects of Fear on Male and Female Heart Rate 

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Stella Wilder, Hannah Birkett, Rachel Guarnaccia, Aurora Carrasco

Biology 202 

Kabeer Ahammad 

November 16, 2023 


Is it true that male and females feel or show fear in different ways? Can gender affect the way that a person feels fear? To test these questions, the heart rate before and after watching a scary video was recorded in male and female participants. All members of this experiment did not discuss any hormonal imbalances that could affect the results, or any symptoms of disease or illness that could harm them while participating. 


A trial was conducted on 5 men and 5 women from the ages of 18 to 21 to study the relationship between gender and how fear affects the heart rate. The objective of this experiment was to determine whether fear makes an actual impact on heart rate, and how it may vary between genders. Since hormones like adrenaline that are released from the activation of the sympathetic system are known to affect heart rate. (Veltman, 1996). This could be a leading factor in the results. 

Materials and Methods:

Each participant watched, “Follow the Red Dot 3” (Youtube, Elijiah Mcdowell, Dec. 18, 2015) when performing this lab. A radial pulse was taken before and after. Participants wore headphones and signed a consent form before conducting the experiment.


*See graph above


The range of heart rate from women seems to be much larger than in men. We can assume that this is because of the differences in brain function and hormone fluctuation. Men tend to have a faster firing sympathetic nervous system which releases hormones like Epinephrine and Cortisol during stress or fear. This could have lead to a quicker reaction and cool down time in men and explain the larger range of heart rate in women. I believe my results are in accordance with my prediction that women will show higher heart rates after watching the scary video. Something to take into consideration with this, however, is women or men who have hearing and vision problems, or males or females who are taking prescription drugs to lower their heart rate. 


With the results above, it is assumed that women will have a higher heart rate when it comes to fear. We have five males and five females participate by watching a scary video to help us understand this. The significance of this project is that we can acknowledge the difference between males and females during fear as well as how it affects the heart rate in each gender. 


Veltman DJ;van Zijderveld G;Tilders FJ;van Dyck R; (n.d.). Epinephrine and fear of bodily sensations in panic disorder and social phobia. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 

YouTube. (2015). YouTube. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from 

Media Description:

Instructor: Kabeer Sahib

Item Credit: Stella Wilder

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