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Assessed meaning and attention in mediating the cognitive effects of false autonomic feedback, first reported by S. Valins (1966). In the context of a study of the physiological correlates of selective attention, 43 undergraduates were instructed either to attend to or ignore pulsed sounds that were described either as veridical heart rate feedback or as electronic "bleeps." These auditory stimuli were presented in parallel with slides illustrating skin diseases. Consistent with previous findings, slides associated with acceleration of the pulsed sounds were subsequently rated as significantly more unpleasant than those associated with no change in the speed of these sounds. However, this effect was not contingent on the apparent meaning of these sounds (heart rate vs bleeps) but was contingent on the degree of attention paid to the sounds. The "Valins effect" was obtained only when Ss attended to the sounds. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1981 American Psychological Association.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Publication Date





239 - 245