Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kevin Larkin.


Researchers have demonstrated that individuals can successfully reduce their heart rate (HR) response to a stressor when provided with heart rate feedback. However, it is unclear whether individuals can transfer HR reduction skills to stressors not used during HR feedback training. The present study used a multiple baseline, single subject design to examine the transfer of HR feedback training among six individuals. Participants were provided with HR feedback training during the presentation of a videogame, a mental arithmetic challenge, and a hand grip task until the participants reduced their HR to within 4 bpm of their resting HR or until they completed three 2-hour training sessions. The participants' ability to reduce HR responses to the three training tasks with no HR feedback was assessed during an immediate post-training period, which followed training on each task. The participants' ability to reduce HR responses to the training tasks and a speech task was assessed during short delay (i.e., 1--2 days) and long delay (1--2 weeks) post-training sessions. Overall, participants demonstrated that during HR feedback training, they could successfully reduce their HR and generally could maintain this reduction in HR to the training task during an immediate post-training assessment when HR was not present. However, individuals were not able to reduce their HR responses to tasks during the short delay and long delay post training sessions and they were unable to transfer HR reduction skills to a novel task (i.e., the speech task). In general, blood pressure responses to the tasks during the post-training sessions were equivalent to pre-training blood pressure levels. Individuals demonstrated consistent performance levels during the videogame and hand grip tasks, and increasing performance levels during the mental arithmetic task. Additional research is needed to examine whether providing motivation (e.g., monetary rewards) during post-training sessions or teaching specific HR reducing skills (e.g., diaphragmatic breathing) might enhance the transfer of HR feedback training and the reduction of HR responses to any number of tasks.