Toward a theory of voluntary control of response patterns in the cardiovascular system

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explains speculations as to how various physiological, environmental, and cognitive constraints can influence the learned control of patterns of cardiovascular activity. Contrary to this evolutionary, biological approach to cardiovascular activity, most of the recent research on the voluntary control of physiological responses through feedback and reward has assumed, and emphasized, the similarity of all bodily processes. However, more important was the fact that acceleration during the pre-feedback voluntary control period did predict success during both feedback and post-feedback. Blood pressure is an integrated measure, at all times the sum total of the state of the plumbing of the cardiovascular system. Dissociation of systolic blood pressure from heart rate was subsequently replicated in a series of studies in humans although the magnitude of the effects were smaller than those obtained in the curarized rat. The first published report demonstrating operant control of blood pressure was performed in rats paralyzed by curare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCardiovascular Psychophysiology
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Issues in Response Mechanisms, Biofeedback and Methodology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781351530088
ISBN (Print)9780202361468
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Social Sciences


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