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October 2021

Control of cardiac response under aversive stimulation. Superiority of a heart-rate feedback condition

Author(s): Adams, A. S. , Jr.

Journal/Book: Biofeedback Self Regul. 1976; 1: 373-85.

Abstract: The relative heart rate effects of biofeedback training, deep muscle relaxation, and a no-feedback/music procedure were compared during two criterion situations. The first consisted of a 25-min training period during which subjects received the assigned treatments. The second consisted of the pre- to posttraining reductions in heart rate reactivity to a series of aversive tone-shock trials. On the first criterion, the heart rate decreases of the feedback and no-feedback/music groups were not clearly distinguishable; however, both groups fell significantly below the muscle- relaxation group. By contrast, on the second criterion, the three groups were clearly distinguishable, with feedback subjects evidencing the most heart rate "control", followed by the muscle-relaxation and no-feedback/music groups, respectively. On the segment of the posttraining aversive trials conducted in the absence of the feedback signal, transfer of heart rate control was incomplete for feedback subjects, but still remained below the level of the other two groups. Training effects were more pronounced on tonic than on phasic heart rate changes. The difference between the two criterion situations suggests the possible need for and feasibility of employing a situational arousal methodology in evaluating the extent and limitation of physiological training procedures.

Keyword(s): Biofeedback (Psychology)|PH. Electroshock|. Heart Rate|

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