Effects of biofeedback on the discrimination of electrodermal activity
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Twenty-four subjects were tested on their ability to discriminate between the presence and absence of negative skin potential responses before and after training to control skin potential. Training consisted of 52 discrete 30-second trials during which subjects were asked either to increase or to inhibit palmar sweating. Subjects in groups N and P were provided with analogue feedback on their skin potential activity. Group N was correctly informed that increases in sweating were indicated by increases in the negativity of skin potential; group P was misinformed that these were indicated by increases in the positivity of skin potential. Subjects in the control (C) group received no feedback. Reliable evidence of discrimination was obtained only in groups N and P, following training. However, reliable evidence of control was obtained only in group N. Thus, training to control skin potential led to an ability to identify afferentation associated with the more common (i.e., negative) skin potential responses, even though biofeedback training appeared unsuccessful in the case of group P. These findings are discussed in the context of “discrimination” or “awareness” accounts of the process of acquiring control of internal responses.
KeywordsHealth Psychology Potential Response Reliable Evidence Biological Psychology Internal Response
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