Biofeedback: Facts and Fads

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 401–402. Reviews the books, Stress and the Art of Biofeedback by Barbara B. Brown (see record 1977-27791-000); and Biofeedback: Theory and Research edited by Gary E. Schwartz and Jackson Beatty (1977). The book by Brown is is an example of a great deal of enthusiasm and a low level of critical thinking. The book is more or less a how-to-do-it “cookbook” for the patient and the neophyte practitioner. All in all, this book can be considered long on evangelism and short on rigor. The book by Schwartz and Beatty comprises four sections: (1) theoretical and applied issues, (2) the autonomic nervous system, (3) the central nervous system, and (4) the skeletal musculature. The most exquisite chapter in the theoretical section, perhaps in the entire book, is the chapter by Jasper Brener entitled “Sensory and Perceptual Determinants of Voluntary Visceral Control.” This chapter epitomizes the rigorous experimental approach as well as considerations of the involvement of the central nervous system and the brain. It deals carefully with a great deal of scientific evidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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