The literature relating to the learned control of autonomic processes, especially cardiovascular processes demonstrating that the activities of visceral response systems may be modified by operant reinforcement and biofeedback procedures, has grown exponentially. This research seems to show behavioral properties in the cardiovascular system that were previously believed to be exclusive attributes of the somatic response systems; the implications of this for possible therapeutic use have received widespread publicity. Questions remained unanswered--about the nature of "voluntary" control and the conditions necessary for establishing it, the reciprocal effects of conditioned changes in cardiovascular and psychological or behavioral functioning, the use of cardiovascular events to index behavioral states, and the principles and techniques whereby operant conditioning of the cardiovascular system can be clinically applied.
This book contains original essays by leading authorities on the subject. When originally published, it represented the first comprehensive overview of the entire field of cardiovascular psychophysiology. It begins with three chapters that provide an overview of the subject and the major contemporary measurement techniques. Part II contains six experimental studies of cardiovascular function dealing with the interactive nature of cardiovascular and behavioral events.
This book serves as a benchmark for all future research in cardiovascular psychophysiology, and as such it will be of continuing interest to advanced students, researchers, scholars, and teachers in the fields of psychophysiology, psychiatry, cardiology, and biomedical engineering.