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Voluntary Control of Autonomic Functions

  • Aubrey J. Yates

Abstract

In discussing the historical antecedents of biofeedback in Chapter 1 it was evident that one of the developments which aroused most interest was the alleged demonstration of voluntary control over functions mediated via the autonomic nervous system (ANS) since it had long been considered that these functions could not be voluntarily controlled. The experiments of N. E. Miller and his colleagues with curarized rats appeared to overcome the difficulty raised by those who argued that the apparent direct (whatever “direct” might mean) operant conditioning of autonomically mediated functions was in fact indirectly achieved by voluntary control of other nonautonomically mediated functions which produced a parallel change in the autonomically mediated function. The subsequent failure to replicate these results with animals did not in any way diminish the enthusiastic search for evidence in humans of ability to exercise voluntary control over heart rate, blood pressure, GSR, temperature, and other functions dependent on autonomic activity. As a result, a very large and complex literature has accumulated, which will be reviewed in this chapter.

Keywords

Pulse Wave Velocity Autonomic Function Migraine Patient Operant Conditioning Migraine Headache 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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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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