Research Investigations on How Biofeedback Works

In the late 1970s and early 1980s research in biofeedback was focused on evaluating the different models of biofeedback discussed above. Many interesting findings were reported, but more questions were raised than were answered as to how biofeedback works. Much of the recent research on biofeedback has focused on evaluating the clinical efficacy of biofeedback, and little systematic work is now being done on discovering how it works. In order to address the question of how it works some researchers have attempted to design false feedback studies. Results of these studies have been mixed, with some studies reporting that even when false feedback is given subjects alter their response as instructed. Some researchers have compared biofeedback training with relaxation only and found that in both conditions, decreases in ANS arousal can be achieved. Other researchers are now examining the role of cognitions in the biofeedback process. The bottom line is that we are not sure how it works but studying this question allows for a fascinating journey into the mind-body research arena.

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