Triadic consistency and false heart-rate feedback

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Summary

Subjects viewed slides of the Rorschach cards while listening to heart sounds that were supposedly but not actually their own. For some of the subjects the heart rate increased when they were exposed to the five achromatic cards and for some subjects the heart rate increased when they were exposed to the five chromatic cards. In addition, some subjects were told that increased heart rate was a sign of mental health (positive condition), and some that the increased heart rate was a sign of mental abnormality (negative condition) Since the heart-rate increase (behavior) and Rorschach cards associated with the increase (attitude object) are connected by a positive causal relation, triadic theory predicts that the sign of the heart-rate increase should generalize to the associated cards (i e, be positive in the positive condition and negative in the negative condition) An analysis of variance revealed such an overall significant effect Closer examination of the data, however, revealed that the triadic effects were not unambiguously occurring when the increased heart rate was associated with achromatic cards It was suggested that in this condition the unique characteristics of the cards facilitated the generation of complicating anxiety. Supportive data for this interpretation were offered

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