Conditioning of Autonomic Functions, Schizokinesis, and Psychosomatic Medicine

  • Samuel A. Corson
  • Elizabeth O’Leary Corson


In Pavlovian conditioning experiments with aversive reinforcement, the animal is faced with a no-solution problem and thus cannot achieve a consummatory response. Gantt reported that in dogs, classical cardiac conditioning (to aversive stimuli) occurs more rapidly and extinction occurs more slowly than conditional motor defense responses. He referred to this phenomenon as schizokinesis. Such somatovisceral dichotomy was observed by us in regard to many other conditional visceral reactions, particularly in certain breeds of dogs. Some dogs (e.g., wirehair fox terriers, border collies, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, and some mongrels) exhibited highly generalized, almost inextinguishable conditional tachycardia, polypnea, profuse salivation, high energy metabolism, high urinary vasopressin and catecholamines, and increased muscle tension. Other dogs (most beagles and other hounds and some mongrels) exhibited very little or only temporary schizokinesis. We postulate that individuals exhibiting marked and persistent schizokinesis may be considered at risk for developing psychosomatic disorders. Suggestions for possible prophylactic therapeutic interventions will be discussed.


Evans Blue Pavlovian Conditioning Overt Behavior German Shepherd Conditioning Room 
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. Bykov, K.M., and Kurtsin, I.T., 1966, “The Corticovisceral Theory of the Pathogenesis of Peptic Ulcer,” S.A. Corson, translation ed., Pergamon Press, London, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Corson, S.A., 1971, Pavlovian and operant conditioning techniques in the study of psychosocial and biological relationships, in: “Society, Stress and Disease,” Vol. 1, L. Levi, ed., Oxford University Press, pp. 7–21.Google Scholar
  3. Corson, S.A., and O’Leary Corson, E., 1976, Constitutional differences in physiologic adaptation to stress and distress, in: “Psychopathology of Human Adaptation,” Serban, ed., Plenum Press, New York, pp. 77–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eliot, R.S., and Buell, J.C., 1983, The role of the CNS in cardiovascular disorders, Hospital Practice, May 1983:189–199.Google Scholar
  5. Gantt, W.H., 1953, Principles of nervous breakdown — schizokinesis and autokinesis, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 56(2):143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel A. Corson
    • 1
  • Elizabeth O’Leary Corson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Department of Educational Theory and PracticeThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations