Voluntary control of human heart rate: Effect on reaction to aversive stimulation: A replication and extension

Alan D. Sirota, Gary E. Schwartz, David Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


In anticipation of receiving painful stimuli, 20 female Ss learned to regulate their heart rate (HR) when provided with meter biofeedback and monetary bonuses for HR changes and instructions to increase or decrease their rate. Voluntary slowing of HR was associated with a relative reduction in perceived aversiveness of the stimuli, particularly in those Ss who scored high on a cardiac-awareness questionnaire (i.e., reported experiencing cardiac reactions to fear situations in daily life). These fingings replicate and extend previous findings by the authors (see record 1974-31631-001) on HR self-regulation, perception of aversive stimulation, and individual differences in cardiac awareness. They also provide further support for the hypothesis that biofeedback training for relevant physiological responses may serve as a behavioral strategy for changing anxiety and fear reactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-477
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1976
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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