The effects of instructional suggestion and physiological cues on analogue fear

Thomas D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Two studies on the interaction of suggestion and physiological cues are reported. In Study I, female college students (20 fearful and 20 unafraid of snakes) were exposed to repeated approach tests with intervening suggestion of improvement. After the first test, subjects were categorized into four subject characteristic groups: strong vs weak actual pulse rate reactivity and strong vs weak perceived reactivity. Both subject characteristic variables were found to be related to approach and pulse rate improvement. In Study II, 72 college females fearful of snakes, similarly categorized into actual and perceived reactivity groups, were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: repeated approach tests with vs without intervening suggestions of improvement and false heart rate feedback increasing vs decreasing during posttest. Suggestion and feedback interacted with subject characteristics in determining approach changes, while pulse rate improvement was again related to subject characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1973

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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