Patterns of Cerebral Lateralization During Cardiac Biofeedback versus the Self‐Regulation of Emotion: Sex Differences

Richard J. Davidson, Gary E. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was twofold: (1) to obtain information on central mechanisms underlying cardiac self‐regulation by comparing changes in cerebral asymmetry during self‐control of heart rate with changes observed during the production of affective imagery; and (2) to explore sex differences in hemispheric function during performance of these two tasks. Heart rate (HR) and bilateral parietal EEG filtered for alpha were recorded from 20 right‐handed males and females during two discrete experimental phases: cardiac control and image self‐generation. HR showed significant effects between up versus down in prefeedback and feedback, and between anger versus relaxing imagery in the image phase. The EEG data indicated similar patterns of hemispheric asymmetry in both sexes during prefeedback. However, with the introduction of feedback, females shifted to greater relative right hemisphere activation comparable to what they show when specifically instructed to think emotional thoughts; males showed little differentiation between conditions. These data indicate that the Self‐regulation of HR with biofeedback in males and females may be accomplished by the utilization of strategies involving different underlying patterns of neuropsychological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1976


  • Biofeedback
  • Cardiac control
  • Cerebral lateralization
  • Emotion
  • Self‐regulation
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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