Help us investigate how heart rate biofeedback reduces stress and anxiety

About the study

Study Name: Interested in learning how to relax by using heart rate biofeedback?

Description: USC School of Gerontology colleagues are investigating whether heart rate biofeedback helps to improve the functioning of cardiovascular control systems in the brain that help regulate emotions, improve well-being and reduce stress, anxiety, and depressed feelings.

We seek volunteers who are willing to stick with a program for two months, do daily practice of the heart rate biofeedback every day and come in for weekly group visits to the lab. Volunteers will complete several emotion and cognitive tasks as well as undergoing an MRI scan at the start and end of the study.

Duration: 7 weeks. Weekly lab visits + daily training + 2 MRI scans. Lab visits range from 2-3.5 hours.

Location: USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, 3715 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089

Payment: $15/hour for lab visits + more based on performance.  If you travel from an off-site location, a USC parking pass will be pre-paid and reserved for you.


  • Healthy adult between the age of 55-80
  • Speaks English fluently
  • Has normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing
  • Currently not practicing any relaxation, biofeedback, or breathing technique (e.g., meditation)
  • Do not have any of the following conditions: abnormal cardiac rhythm, heart disease including coronary artery disease, angina, and arrhythmia, cardiac pacemaker, stroke, panic attack, cognitive impairment
  • Currently not taking any psychoactive drugs other than antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications
  • If taking antidepressant and/or anti-anxiety medication or attending psychotherapy, the treatment has been ongoing and unchanged for at least three months
  • Have no travelling plans that would lead you to miss any of the weekly meetings
  • Currently not nursing, pregnant, or intending to become pregnant
  • Have no metals in their body, as metal is incompatible with MRI scanning