Awareness of the response after feedback training for changes in heart rate and sudomotor laterality.
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What is the relation between the ability to control visceral responding on a biofeedback task and the ability to report behaviors actually contributing to this performance? Subjects received biofeedback training for unidentified visceral responses and then gave written reports about what they had done to control the feedback displays. Independent judges were given these reports and, on the basis of knowledge about activities known to contribute to visceral activity, were asked to determine the visceral responses for which the subjects had been trained. The reports of subjects who succeeded at bidirectional control of heart rate (Experiment 1) or sudomotor laterality (Experiment 2) showed awareness of behaviors related to feedback as assessed by this procedure, whereas the reports of subjects who failed at bidirectional control did not. Subsequent experiments indicated that these results did not depend on a learning strategy that might have been specific to the initial studies. These findings call into question the view that people are unaware of what they have done to produce the response after training on biofeedback tasks. Earlier studies reporting lack of awareness in biofeedback are discussed in light of factors that affect the measurement of biofeedback learning and response awareness.
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