An investigation of some parameters of acquisition of voluntary peripheral vasomotor control



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Thirty-five experimental subjects (college introductory psychology students) received four fingertip temperature training sessions, one of 20 minutes and three of 15 minutes, during which they were instructed to try to raise their fingertip temperature. One-half of the subjects received 10- minutes of temperature feedback, then 10-minutes no-feedback in the first session. The other half received the reverse order for the first session. All subjects received feedback in the second and third sessions. One half of the subjects received feedback in the fourth session and the other half received no-feedback. Monetary reward was provided, based on performance. Experimental subjects showed significant increases in baselines and attained temperatures from the first to the fourth sessions. A no-feedback control group (N=9) received no visual or auditory feedback and were yoked on a random basis with feedback subjects for monetary reward. No-feedback controls showed no significant learning over the four sessions. A relaxation-training control group (N=8) listened to a relaxation training recording with no mention of temperature change for four 15-minute periods. They received no temperature feedback and were yoked with feedback subjects for monetary reward. Relaxation subjects showed no significant learning over the four sessions. Results indicate that many subjects have some initial ability to control fingertip temperature, but feedback is necessary to show the training effect within four-15 minute sessions. Fingertip temperature control is not dependent on feedback by the fourth session. Subjects high in self-report anxiety display significantly lower initial fingertip temperatures and those high in self-report impulsivity and low in self-report anxiety show significantly greater learning of control than other combinations of impulsivity and anxiety. Subjects reported visual imagery of scenes associated with heat as the most productive method of changing fingertip temperature. Male subjects showed significantly greater initial ability and female subjects showed significantly greater learning over the four sessions.



Biofeedback training, Body temperature--Regulation