Classical conditioning and extinction of human systolic blood pressure

  • George De Leon


Fifty-five male and female undergraduates underwent 3 sessions of conditioning and one of extinction. Shock (UCS) occurred intermittently during light-on (CS+) and never in light-off (CS-). Results showed that (1) pressure in CS+ was significantly higher than CS-throughout all sessions; (2) within session adaptation was significantly retarded while incoming pressure levels did not adapt across sessions; (3) conditioned effects persisted 6 months after the last shock session; (4) verbal information as to non-appearance of shock significantly dropped pressure levels and reduced the discriminative light effect; (5) the post-shock unconditioned pressure response was a peak rise at 52 seconds, then a decrease which stabilized to the pre-shock level at 2 minutes. Pavlovian control of blood pressure was demonstrated and the present methodology offers an explicit procedure for further laboratory exploration.


Systolic Pressure Blood Pressure Change Extinction Session Basal Phase Shock Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. De Leon, G.: Stimulus control of human systolic pressure.Psychonomic Sci. 6:63–64, 1966.Google Scholar
  2. Di Cara, L., and Miller, N. E.: Instrumental learning of systolic blood pressure responses by curarized rats: Dissociation of cardiac and vascular changes.Psychosomatic Med.,30:489–494, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. Forsythe, R.: Blood pressure and avoidance conditioning.Psychosomatic Med. 30:125–135, 1968.Google Scholar
  4. Hockmeyer, M.: Discriminative conditioning of human systolic blood pressure, manipulating two parameters: UCS intensity and schedules of reinforcement. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rutgers University, 1970.Google Scholar
  5. Mandel, I. J., and Bridger, W. H.: Interaction between instructions and ISI in conditioning and extinction of the GSR.J. Exper. Psychol.,74:36–43, 1967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Notterman, J. M., Schoenfeld, W. N., and Bersh, P. J.: A comparison of three extinction procedures following heart rate conditioning.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 47:674–677, 1952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Pappas, B. A., Di Cara, L., and Miller, N. E.: Learning of blood pressure responses in the noncurarized rat: Transfer to the curarized state.Physiol. Behav.,5:1029–1032, 1970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Shapiro, D., Tursky, B., Glishon, E., and Stein, M.: Effects of feedback and reinforcement on the control of human systolic blood pressure.Science,163:588–589, 1969.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • George De Leon
    • 1
  1. 1.Wakoff Research Center, and Wagner CollegeStaten Island

Personalised recommendations