The Effects of Operant Reinforcement Schedules on the Modification of Human Heart Rate

John P. Hatch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Thirty‐six male students were instructed to raise or lower their heart rates (HRs) and were provided with one of three different schedules of HR biofeedback. Within each direction of control condition, subjects were exposed to continuous beat‐by‐beat visual feedback, no feedback, or feedback presented according to a variable ratio (VR) schedule. During 4 training sessions VR subjects received feedback of a randomly selected 100%, 75%, 50%, or 25% of their heartbeats. All groups significantly altered their HRs in the instructed direction. For HR speeding, VR feedback produced significantly faster HRs than did continuous feedback while the VR schedule was in effect. No significant differences in HR slowing performance occurred among the three slowing groups. Resting initial HR levels did not significantly affect either speeding or slowing performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1980


  • Biofeedback
  • Heart rate
  • Operant Control
  • Variable ratio reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effects of Operant Reinforcement Schedules on the Modification of Human Heart Rate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this