Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1976

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Ronald G. Smith


The relative importance of graded stimulus presentation and muscle relaxation in the reduction of classically conditioned autonomic responses were investigated in an experimental analogue of systematic desensitization and its component parts. Skin resistance responses (SRR) were conditioned to a 700 cps. tone. The conditioned response was subjected to one of four "treatment" procedures: 1) graded counterconditioning (GCC), 2) non-graded counterconditioning (NCC), 3) graded extinction (GE), and nongraded extinction (NE). Differences in response reduction between groups during and after treatment were tested. No significant differences In SRR magnitude were found for any of the groups between conditioning test trials and post treatment test trials. Relaxation training and induction did produce significant reductions in electromyographic activity and basal heart rate compared to the nonrelaxed conditions during treatment trials. Correlations between the different physiological measures were calculated with results predictable from the literature. The results of this study lack reliability due to a lack of reliable conditioning and small number of subjects meeting conditioning criteria.


Copyright 1976 Lester G. Husted


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