Relation of autonomic perception and its manipulation to the maintenance and reduction of fear

T. D. Borkovec, Gerald T. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


68 male and female undergraduates who indicated "much fear, very much fear, or terror" on the public-speaking item of the Fear Survey Schedule were assigned to 1 of 3 groups according to their scores on the Autonomic Perception Questionnaire (APQ). In each group, Ss prepared and presented 2 consecutive speeches under 1 of 3 attentional instruction conditions: (a) instructions to focus on autonomic events that may occur during the speeches, (b) instructions to focus on environmental stimuli during the speeches, or (c) no attention-focusing instructions. Ss given instructions to focus on environmental cues showed a more rapid decline in self-reported fear than did Ss in the other 2 conditions. High-APQ Ss displayed the lowest resting levels of heart rate and skin conductance but the greatest increase in conductance during the preparation period. Low-APQ Ss showed moderate resting activity and the smallest increments in conductance, whereas medium-APQ Ss displayed the highest resting levels and only moderate conductance increases during preparation. The APQ dimension interacted with instructions to determine degree of heart rate reduction over the 2 speeches, whereas within the high-APQ S sample the 3 instruction conditions led to different within- and across-speech patterns of heart rate habituation. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Relation of autonomic perception and its manipulation to the maintenance and reduction of fear'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this