Hot Finger: Experimenting with Biofeedback
People can learn to use biofeedback as a technique to improve their health using signals from their own bodies. Many different types of healthcare professionals use biofeedback to help patients cope with injuries and deal with anxiety or pain. This experiment will explore the use of biofeedback. Participants will be asked to try to controlthe temperature of one of their fingers with their minds.
Can a person raise the temperature of his or her finger using the power of thought?
- Mercury thermometer
- Material to construct housing for the thermometer (many designs are possible)
- Notebook to record results
- Construct a box with the tip of the thermometer mounted inside. The thermometer scale should be outside the box so temperature readings can be read and recorded. The box should have a hole large enough for a person to stick a hand or finger in to touch the tip of the thermometer. Many designs are possible. Get creative!!
- Have a test subject place his finger on the tip of the thermometer.
- Ask the test subject to relax and clear his or her mind.
- Record a baseline temperature after five minutes.
- Ask the participant to use his or her thoughts to increase the temperature of their finger.
- Record the temperature on the thermometer every 30 seconds. When temperature increases, ask the participant to describe what they are thinking about.
- Test many different subjects. How many are able to control temperature with their minds?
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.