This paper develops the basic premise that learning to self-regulate a pattern of responses can have different consequences from those observed when controlling individual functions alone. It is suggested that the self-regulation of patterns of responses can be a particularly sensitive and effective procedure for (a ) uncovering biological linkages and constraints between responses in the intact human, (b ) investigating how multiphysiological systems combine to produce unique subjective experiences and effects on performance, and (c ) enhancing the clinical effectiveness of biofeedback procedures by training patients to integrate and coordinate voluntarily specific patterns of cognitive, autonomic, and motor responses. These hypotheses are illustrated by basic research involving biofeedback training for patterns of blood pressure, heart rate and EEG activity, related experiments on the cognitive self-regulation of patterns of physiological responses using affective imagery and meditation procedures, and case studies of patients treated with biofeedback. The concept of electronic biofeedback as an "unnatural act" is presented with the goal of placing self-regulation within a more biobehavioral perspective emphasizing the natural patterning of physiological processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)