Biofeedback and Self-regulation

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 151–168 | Cite as

Variations in digital temperature during frontal EMG biofeedback training in normal subjects

  • Gary T. Montgomery


During frontal EMG biofeedback training, the relationship between frontal EMG and digital skin temperature was investigated in two experiments, which varied the number of baseline and feedback sessions. The results of Experiment 1 suggested a “general relaxation effect,” where digital temperature increased as frontal EMG decreased, especially for subjects with initially low hand temperature. Experiment 2 extended the number of baseline and feedback sessions and qualified the results of Experiment 1. EMG and digital temperature did not simultaneously converge toward general relaxation over the extended baseline or feedback sessions in Experiment 2. Furthermore, when the feedback signal was introduced, digital temperature dropped quickly but recovered to baseline levels within three feedback sessions; this drop in digital temperature was interpreted within the context of attentional demands of the biofeedback task. The results appeared consistent with the view that frontal biofeedback training teaches a discriminative skill of lower frontal EMG, and that this skill does not readily generalize to digital skin temperature.

Descriptor Key Words

generalization effects of biofeedback training EMG biofeedback digital skin temperature 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, A. B. (1975). An experimental test of assumptions relating to the use of electromyographic biofeedback as a general relaxation training technique.Psychophysiology, 12 656–662.Google Scholar
  2. Billings, R. F., Thomas, M. R., Rapp, M. S., Reyes, E., & Leith, M. (1984). Differential efficacy of biofeedback in headache.Headache, 24 211–215.Google Scholar
  3. Carlson, J. G., Basilio, C. A., & Heaukulani, J. D. (1983). Transfer of EMG training: Another look at the generalization issue.Psychophysiology, 20 530–536.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, J. (1977).Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (Rev. ed.). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, M. J., McArthur, D. L., & Rickles, W. H. (1980). Comparison of four biofeedback treatments for migraine headache: Physiological and headache variables.Psychosomatic Medicine, 42 463–480.Google Scholar
  6. Credidio, S. G. (1982). Comparative effectiveness of patterned biofeedback vs. meditation training on EMG and skin temperature changes.Behaviour Research and Therapy, 20 233–241.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, P. J. (1980). Electromyograph biofeedback: Generalization and the relative effects of feedback, instructions and adaptation.Psychophysiology, 17 604–612.Google Scholar
  8. DeGood, D. E., & Chisholm, R. C. (1977). Multiple response comparison of parietal EEG and frontalis EMG biofeedback.Psychophysiology, 14 258–265.Google Scholar
  9. Freedman, R. R., & Ianni, P. (1983). Self-control of digital temperature: Physiological factors and transfer effects.Psychophysiology, 20 682–689.Google Scholar
  10. Freedman, R. R., Ianni, P., & Wenig, P. (1983). Behavioral treatment of Raynaud's disease.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51 539–549.Google Scholar
  11. Fridlund, A. J., Fowler, S. C., & Pritchard, D. A. (1980). Striate muscle tensional patterning in frontalis EMG biofeedback.Psychophysiology, 17 47–55.Google Scholar
  12. Gatchel, R. J., Korman, M., Weis, C. B., Smith, D., & Clarke, L. (1978). A multiple-response evaluation of EMG biofeedback performance during training and stress-induction conditions.Psychophysiology, 15 253–258.Google Scholar
  13. Hassett, J. (1978).A primer of psychophysiology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  14. Kappes, B. M. (1983). Sequence effects of relaxation training, EMG, and temperature biofeedback on anxiety, symptom report, and self-concept.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39 203–208.Google Scholar
  15. King, N. J., & Montgomery, R. B. (1980). Biofeedback-induced control of human peripheral temperature: A critical review of the literature.Psychological Bulletin, 88 738–752.Google Scholar
  16. Kirk, R. E. (1982).Experimental design: Procedures for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  17. Lacey, J. I. (1967). Somatic response patterning and stress: Some revisions of activation theory. In M. Appley & R. Trumbull (Eds.),Psychological stress: Issues in research. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  18. Naliboff, B. D., & Johnson, H. J. (1978). Finger pulse amplitude and frontalis EMG biofeedback effects of single- and two-system training.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 3 133–143.Google Scholar
  19. Qualls, P. J., & Sheehan, P. W. (1981). Electromyograph biofeedback as a relaxation technique: A critical appraisal and reassessment.Psychological Bulletin, 90 21–42.Google Scholar
  20. Sargent, J., Solbach, P., Coyne, L., Spohn, H., & Segerson, J. (1986). Results of a controlled, experimental, outcome study of nondrug treatments for the control of migraine headaches.Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 9 291–323.Google Scholar
  21. Shilling, D. J., & Poppen, R. (1983). Behavioral relaxation training and assessment.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 14 99–107.Google Scholar
  22. Stoyva, J., & Budzynski, T. (1974). Cultivated low arousal — An antistress response? In L. V. DiCara (Ed.),Lymbic and autonomic nervous systems research. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  23. Surwit, R. S., Shapiro, D., & Feld, J. L. (1976). Digital temperature autoregulation and associated cardiovascular changes.Psychophysiology, 13 242–248.Google Scholar
  24. Tarler-Benlolo, L. (1978). The role of relaxation in biofeedback training: A critical review of the literature.Psychological Bulletin, 85 727–755.Google Scholar
  25. Taub, E., & Emurian, C. S. (1976). Feedback-aided self-regulation of skin temperature with a single feedback locus.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 1 147–168.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary T. Montgomery
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and AnthropologyPan American UniversityEdinburg

Personalised recommendations