In any experiment,
error, whether large or small, is ensured. When doing something
where humans are relied upon to get the data, the possibility
for error increases dramatically. When looking at the results
we got, it is fairly easy to see that there were certain factors
we were unable to fix.
Water temperature became our group's largest problem. Each location where we took pulses had a different water temperature. Most of the pulses were taken in the pool at Pepperdine. However, Alex's pulse was not taken there. His pulse had to be taken at the St. Matthew's pool. In addition, the shower at the St. Matthew's pool, where the shower pulse was taken, had very cold water. This water was much colder than Pepperdine's pool or the St. Matthew's pool. It was clear that the pool at St. Matthew's had the warmest water, followed by the Pepperdine pool, then the water from the Saint Matthew's shower. This change in water temperature greatly affected our results. The reason for this change is easily explained. When a person is in water that is fairly cold, the temperature receptors around the mouth sense this and send the message, to the brain. When the brain receives this message it slows down the heart rate. It also has less blood sent to the arms and legs, so that the vital organs in the body's center stay at the correct temperature. While this does make it harder for a pulse to be felt at the wrist or ankle, the main concern for our group was that it altered the pulse rate. This meant that everyone's shower pulse rate would be lower than most other pulse rates, but that Alex's pulse rates would be higher than everyone else's.
Another cause for concern came from the amount of physical activity certain people were doing. Dylan, for example, had just been swimming. With scuba gear on, that can be quite difficult, especially since we are all beginners. This would cause his pulse to be higher than our group, since we had not been swimming. However, trying to stay level, when we did the floating or trying not to drift away from the person taking a pulse proved to be quite difficult for beginning scuba divers. This may have caused our pulses to be slightly higher than they would have been, had we not been so active.
In addition, some people do become slightly frightened when thinking about scuba diving. Breathing underwater is an odd sensation that can take awhile to get used to. This slight fear can cause people to be on edge and escalate their pulse. This has been known to happen, even with the person not aware of his or her fear. So, it is quite possible that some of us were somewhat nervous, when we were doing this experiment, causing our pulses to go up a bit. However, our experiment was intended to test pulse rates while diving. If nervousness is something someone experiences, while they dive, then this is part of diving. On the other hand, some people may never live through this feeling, while diving, so they will not have this as a factor. In general, an escalated pulse, due to nervousness, is something that many people will have when they dive and therefore an effect of diving on circulation.
While our experiment suffered from numerous problems, it still had the ability to show how some factors of diving can affect a person's pulse rate. We did learn that water temperature can drastically alter pulse rate. So, the colder the water a person dives in, the slower their pulse rate will be, and the warmer the water a person dives in the quicker their pulse will be. Also, cold water restricts blood flow to the limbs. The arms and legs will receive blood, but not in the same way the core of the body would. We noticed this in our experiment, because the colder the water was the harder it was to feel a pulse at the wrist. This is not necessarily a problem, but something to be aware of. We also learned that being nervous, worried or scared can greatly affect a person's pulse rate.
If we had the ability to change anything in our experiment, we would attempt two main things. First of all, every pulse would have to be taken in the same water temperature. Somehow, we would have to find a way to get a shower to have the same temperature water as the pool. Also, everyone would have his or her pulse taken in the same pool. Another factor we would try to change would be the level of physical activity everyone had done prior to testing. Addressing these problems would help in keeping our results accurate.
In the end, our data did seem to answer the question we had originally set out to answer. Does diving affect the pulse rate? We found out that the deeper a diver goes the slower his or her pulse will be. This can be attributed to two main reasons, the water pressure and that it will most likely be colder the deeper one dives. The colder it is, the lower a diver's pulse rate will be. This data could allow us to predict that in deeper depths a pulse rate would generally be lower than at higher depths. In the end we were able to make what we feel.