Biofeedback and Self-regulation

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 35–43 | Cite as

Effects of discrete visual feedback on the electrodermal control of a stressful situation

  • R. A. Burns
Original Articles
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Abstract

Two groups of human volunteers received three sessions of discriminated avoidance and punishment with the skin resistance response (SRR) as the operant. During each session one group (feedback) received three 6–8-min periods of Sidman avoidance of a 1.5-mA shock (R-S=40 sec, S-S=35 sec) mixed with three periods of punishment with a 20-sec time-out after each period. The avoidance and punishment periods were signaled by red and green lights, and a circle appeared superimposed on the discriminative stimuli for the duration of a criterion response. A second group (no feedback) received the same conditions as the feedback group except that no circle appeared. Instructions to the subject were not informative regarding experimental events. Subjects made significantly more SRR's during avoidance, a contingency in which responding prevented shock, than during punishment, a contingency in which responding produced shock. A reliable four-way interaction suggested that the feedback stimulus curtailed a tendency for avoidance response rate to diminish within and between experimental sessions. The data are considered as evidence for electrodermal (autonomic) control of two different stressful situations, and the potential value of the paradigm for establishing tonic autonomic arousal and suppression is considered.

Keywords

Experimental Session Visual Feedback Green Light Stressful Situation Criterion Response 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Burns
    • 1
  1. 1.Charles L. Mix Laboratory, Department of PsychologyGeorgia Southwestern CollegeAmericus

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