Two studies tested the hypothesis that auditory heartbeat feedback leads to an increase in self-directed attention. In Experiment 1, subjects exposed to a sound representing their heartbeat made greater self-attributions for hypothetical outcomes than did subjects exposed to the same sound identified as an extraneous noise. Furthermore, subjects in the heartbeat condition showed a pattern of color-naming latencies (on a color-word test) that was consistent with the hypothesis that self-related information was being activated in memory. In contrast, no such pattern was observed among subjects in the noise condition. In Experiment 2, comparisons with appropriate control groups indicated that neither an extraneous noise nor the attachment of a heartbeat-recording device influenced self-attribution, but that the presence of either a constant or an accelerating heartbeat increased self-attribution. The latter two conditions did not differ from each other. Discussion centers on the findings' methodological and theoretical implications.
Fenigstein, Allan and Carver, Charles, "Self-focusing effects of heartbeat feedback" (1978). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36(11): 1241-1250. Faculty Publications. Paper 35.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology