Cardiorespiratory Orienting Responses as Predictors of Individuals at Risk for Psychovisceral Disorders

  • Samuel A. Corson
  • Elizabeth O’Leary Corson


Utilizing a combination of idiographic and nomothetic research designs with repeated measures in several breeds of dogs, we discovered stable constitutional differences in psychophysiologic reactions to repeated exposure to psychologically stressful situations. Some dogs showed high psychophysiologic adaptation (HA dogs). Other dogs developed persistent psychophysiologic reactions to the psychologically aversive environment: tachycardia, polypnea, profuse salivation, high energy metabolism and muscle tension, and high urinary vasopressin and catecholamines (low adaptation or LA dogs). Retrospective analysis of the development and extinction of cardiac and respiratory orienting reflexes (OR) in these two types of dogs revealed that the LA dogs exhibit higher frequency and more intense, persistent, and highly fluctuating (poorly modulated) cardiac and respiratory OR than the HA dogs, which show rapid OR habituation and good modulation. Insofar as one may extrapolate these data to human subjects, recording dynamics of development and habituation and degree of modulation of visceral OR may facilitate early detection of individuals at risk for cardiorespiratory and other psychovisceral disorders.


Overt Behavior Urinary Catecholamine Orienting Reflex Vasopressin Release Conditioning Room 


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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

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