Self-focusing effects of heartbeat feedback

Allan Fenigstein, Charles S Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two studies tested the hypothesis that auditory heartbeat feedback leads to an increase in self-directed attention. In Exp I, 10 female undergraduates exposed to a sound representing their heartbeat made greater self-attributions for hypothetical outcomes than did 10 similar Ss exposed to the same sound identified as an extraneous noise. Furthermore, Ss in the heartbeat condition showed a pattern of color-naming latencies (on a color-word test) that was consistent with the hypothesis that self-related information was being activated in memory. In contrast, no such pattern was observed among Ss in the noise condition. In Exp II, with 51 female and 28 male undergraduates, comparisons with appropriate control groups indicated that neither an extraneous noise nor the attachment of a heartbeat-recording device influenced self-attribution, but that the presence of either a constant or an accelerating heartbeat increased self-attribution. The latter 2 conditions did not differ from each other. Methodological and theoretical implications are discussed. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1978
Externally publishedYes


  • auditory heartbeat feedback, self directed attention, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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