Research on the Specificity of Feedback Training: Implications for the Use of Biofeedback in the Treatment of Anxiety and Fear

  • Peter J. Lang
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 2)


The purpose of this paper is to describe a series of experiments from our laboratory on visceral learning, and to present the implications of this work for the use of biofeedback in the treatment of anxiety. In this research we tested the hypothesis that feedback of information from a visceral organ would facilitate instructions to reduce that organ’s activity level. The specific goal of our procedures was the slowing of heart rate. This response was chosen for evaluation because of the ease and reliability of heart rate measurement, and also, because increments in heart rate are associated with emotional arousal, whereas a slow pulse characterizes the relaxed state. Underlying our experiments was an assumption that the learned control of cardiac rate is a skills learning task. Thus, our strategy has been to examine such variables as instructions, information input, display characteristics, and incentives, to determine if these parameters would modify heart rate response acquisition in a manner similar to their effect on motor skills learning.


Heart Rate Reduce Heart Rate Heart Rate Slowing Feedback Group Heart Rate Control 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Lang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin at MadisonUSA

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