Extended dissociative training of sudomotor response patterns
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Subjects viewed two feedback displays, one depicting skin conductance and the other either respiratory behavior (respiration group) or subtle body movements (movement group). The subject's task was to increase skin conductance and the concomitant activity on integration trials, and to increase conductance while holding the concomitant behavior constant on dissociation trials. All subjects succeeded at integration over 15 sessions of training. In addition, 4 of 5 subjects in the respiration group successfully increased skin conductance on dissociation trials without altering the pre-trial pattern of breathing. However, volar activities (e.g., finger-to-finger contact, finger flexion) were observed on these trials. Volar activities were also adopted on dissociation trials by subjects trained in the movement group. Successful subjects in this group identified volar manipulations that did not affect a sensitive movement transducer. Attempts by subjects to compensate for habituation of conductance responses to deep breaths and finger flexion reduced or reversed within-subject correlations involving these concomitants, on integration and dissociation trials. The results do not support the view that visceral-somatic linkages can be uncoupled through instrumental learning.
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