Graduate Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Project Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Behavioral Science

Supervisory Committee Chair

J. Greenspan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Larry Minton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James M. Olson, Ph.D.


A case of Raynaud's disease, a functional disorder of the vascular system resulting in the hands and feet being abnormally sensitive to the vasoconstrictor influences of cold and emotional disturbance, was treated with thermal biofeedback in order to train the subject to increase her finger temperature and thus reduce the onset of Raynaud's attacks. In addition to biofeedback training to raise digital skin temperature, the experimental conditions included: no-feedback control phases to control for expectancy effects, and relaxation training combined with biofeedback to provide the subject with specific strategies to use when raising finger temperature. It was hypothesized that: 1) Finger warming ability would be greater in the combined relaxation/biofeedback training condition than in the biofeedback alone condition, and 2) Finger warming ability would be greater in the absence of feedback condition following the combined relaxation/biofeedback training condition than following the biofeedback alone condition. The first hypothesis was not supported by this experiment. The second hypothesis was not disproved, though further data would be needed before any definite conclusions could be reached. Problems with reinforcement and experimental design were discussed as well as suggestions for future experiments in this area.



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