Handbook of Health Psychology

By Andrew Baum; Tracey A. Revenson et al. | Go to book overview

6
Biofeedback and Self-Regulation
of Physiological Activity:
A Major Adjunctive Treatment Modality
in Health Psychology
Robert J. Gatchel
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Before Harry Houdini performed one of his famous escapes, a skeptical committee would search his clothes and body. When the members of the committee were satisfied that the Great Houdini was concealing no keys, they would put chains, padlocks and handcuffs on him …. Of course, not even Houdini could open a padlock without a key, and when he was safely behind a curtain, he would cough one up. He could hold a key suspended in his throat and regurgitate it when he was unobserved …. The trick behind many of Houdini's escapes was in some ways just as amazing as the escape in itself. Ordinarily, when an object is stuck in a person's throat he will start to gag. He can't help it-it's an unlearned automatic reflux. But Houdini had learned to control his gag reflex by practicing hours with a small piece of potato tied to a string. (Lang, 1970, p. 2)

Through the years, there have been other unusual instances of the exercise of voluntary control over physiological functions noted in the scientific literature. Such was the case of a middle-aged male who had the ability to control the eruption of hairs over the entire surface of his body (Lindsley & Sassaman, 1938), or the case of an individual who could willfully produce complete cardiac arrest for periods of several seconds at a time (McClure, 1959). Numerous instances of voluntary acceleration of pulse rate were reported by Ogden and Shock (1939). Luria (1958) described a mnemonist who had obtained remarkable control of his heart rate and skin temperature. This individual could abruptly alter his heart rate by 40 beats per minute. He could also raise the skin temperature of one hand while simultaneously lowering the temperature of the other hand.The modification of physiological activities such as those described has been the subject of practice and investigation by mystics and scientists for a considerable period of time. The goal of such control of physiological functions has been nursued for at least three reasons:
1. To achieve spiritual enlightment. Yogis and other mystics of the Eastern tradition have shown that through certain physical exercises or by shear act of will they are capable of producing tremendous physiochemical changes in their bodies resulting in perceived pleasant states of consciousness (Bagchi, 1959; Bagchi & Wenger, 1957).
2. To test theories of learning. Within psychology, learning theorists have long debated the issue of whether autonomic responses could be operantly conditioned.

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Handbook of Health Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 962

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.