incorrectly using paired t-test for comparing pulse rates?

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incorrectly using paired t-test for comparing pulse rates?

Post by vulpes » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:10 pm

I basically think that I am incorrectly using a t-test to compare some data I did in my physiology lab. No one else in my class has done a t-test so either the whole class is wrong or I am right :shock:

General idea in the lab:
1. We measured the pulse rates at different times to see how it changed when we placed our faces underwater(dive reflex).

2. We then measured the pulse rates while holding our breath and not submerging our face in the water.

Question: we are asked to describe the changes in pulse rate during the dive reflex and during the breath holding.

In my lab we had 4 different individuals and measured the pulse rate at resting conditions, 15 seconds into the dive, 30 seconds into the dive, and 30 seconds after recovery for each person.

We did this same procedure for breath holding except instead of putting our head in water we just held our breath.

Now when the question asks to compare the effects of the dive reflex with just holding our breath. I used a paired t test using the 4 pulse rates (resting, 15sec into dive, 30sec into dive, recovery) measured and the 4 pulse rates for just holding breath in air ( resting, 15sec into dive, 30sec into dive, recovery) and looked at the p-value to see if there is a statistical difference. I am worried this is not accurate because the pulse rates are not all resting pulse rates, but include during the dive and after. I wanted to use the t-test as a basis to support our answers on whether there was a change comparing the dive reflex and breath holding. There is alot of variation in the data since we are using different people and some of the p-values show that there is no difference when the data looks very different. Thanks for any help and guidance!!!!

I did not know where the best place to post this, so if it is in the wrong area I can move it. :D

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