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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

D. W. Matheson

First Committee Member

Roseann Hannon

Second Committee Member

Howell Runion


Boucharq and Corson (1976) found that subjects required to lower heart rate to avoid the loss of money used the strategy of attending to meaningless stimulation twice as often as subjects required to lower heart rates to obtain money, and that subjects decreasing heart rate to avoid the loss of money performed significantly better than subjects required to lower heart rate to obtain money.

Seven male and seven female undergraduates participated in a study designed to test the hypothesis that visual focusing on meaningless stimulation and biofeedback would produce larger heart rate decreases than biofeedback alone. Each subject attended three baseline sessions followed by six treatment sessions in which subjects experienced either biofeedback and the meaningless stimulus, or biofeedback alone. The principal dependent measure was heart rate, although frontalis EMG, and EEG Alpha/Theta production were recorded for correlation with heart rate.

The results showed that the biofeedback and meaningless stimulus group showed significantly higher heart rates on four of the six treatment sessions when compared to the biofeedback alone group, although neither group evidenced a learning curve. Correlations between heart rate and EMG, and heart rate and EEG frequencies were nonsignificant for all sessions.

The findings of this study do not support Bouchard and Corson's (1976) hypothesis that subjects who learned to reduce heart rate did so by focusing attention on meaningless stimulation.