Instrumentation and Methodology

  • Aubrey J. Yates


However simple or sophisticated it may be, a biofeedback system must be capable of performing four functions: detection and transduction of the response under investigation, amplification (including, where necessary, rectification, smoothing, and integration) of the response, generation of a suitable display of the response, and on-line analysis, or storage for future analysis, of data representing characteristics of the response over time. In some instances the satisfaction of these requirements does not pose serious problems (the detection, transduction, amplification, and display of peripheral temperature is a good example); in other cases, however, there are major problems to be overcome in obtaining signals from the subject that are artifact-free with high-quality equipment needed for satisfactory results (examples would be the measurement of muscle activity, blood volume and flow, and the electrical activity of the brain, in spite of a tendency for these problems to be glossed over or even ignored in published reports). It would be impossible here to provide a detailed review of the technical aspects of transducing and amplifying each and every function that has been investigated in the biofeedback situation. Whole volumes have been devoted both to the problems of measurement of a wide range of physiological functions and to detailed accounts of, for example, the kind of transducers necessary to detect the functions in question (see, e.g., Thompson & Patterson, 1974). Instead, a different approach will be adopted here in which the methodology of biofeedback research and clinical application will be the main object of discussion, with instrumentation being introduced as necessary.


Heart Rate Visual Feedback Voluntary Control Auditory Feedback Biofeedback Training 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aubrey J. Yates
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaNedlandsWestern Australia

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