Biorhythms and activity level of institutionalized mentally retarded persons diagnosed hyperactive

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The interaction between arousal to action of environmental stimuli and recovery from that activity was presumed to generate biorhythms in the activity level of children. Five profoundly retarded children (2 male and 2 female) played in single sex groups of 2, 3, and 4 in a specially constructed 6.10x6.10 m playroom. The room contained tubular steel play apparatus designed to elicit play behavior in young children. The free play activity of the children was monitored via a heart rate telemetry system with the children wearing a small transmitter at waist level. Data were continuously recorded during play sessions lasting up to 2 hr. The data were analyzed by analysis of variance procedures and spectral analysis to ascertain whether average activity level was susceptible to manipulation by variation of selected parameters (group size and sex) in the stimulus environment. The spectral analysis was used to test for the existence of periodic components (biorhythms) in the children's free play. There were no significant differences due to sex, or playgroup size of the subjects. Power spectra of the play sessions produced a variety of biorhythms with no clear bandwidths indicated. A white noise test supported the hypothesis that frequencies faster than 15 min per cycle were noise. Frequencies slower than 15 min per cycle indicated no clear periodic components with respect to levels of groups size or sex. The spectra indicated a great deal of random (noise) behavior. Results were discussed with respect to current diagnosis of hyperactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Mental Deficiency
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1973


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