Voluntary control of human heart rate: Effect on reaction to aversive stimulation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In anticipation of receiving painful stimuli, 20 female 21-27 yr old Ss learned to control their heart rate when provided with external feedback and reward for criterion heart rate changes and were instructed to increase or decrease their rate. Voluntary slowing of heart rate led to a relative reduction in the perceived aversiveness of the stimuli, particularly for those Ss who reported experiencing cardiac reactions to fear situations in daily life. It is concluded that biofeedback training for relevant physiological responses may possibly serve as a behavioral strategy for changing anxiety and fear reactions. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1974


  • voluntary control of heart rate, reaction to aversive stimulation, 21-27 yr old females

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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