In its brief history, cardiovascular psychophysiology has primarily addressed two interrelated problems. One is whether cardiovascular events constitute indices of behavioral states as correlates of such processes as emotion, motivation, attention, and learning. This approach is most explicitly illustrated by Gantt (1960), who, in reviewing his own research efforts, concludes, among other things: “Though the observed actions of men hide their real thoughts and feelings, these are revealed by the observation of their hearts” (p. 290). This in effect says that one can objectify behavioral events or processes by the assessment of cardiovascular activity. A second concern of cardiovascular psychophysiology focuses on whether the organism’s interactions with its environment contribute to the etiology of pathophysiological processes of the cardiovascular system. This is the problem commonly called “psychosomatic” disease, a term that unfortunately perpetuates the dualistic view of “psyche” (mind) and “soma” (body) as discrete entities, with the mind capable of insidiously evoking pathophysiological conditions. It is my belief that all aspects of our bodily functioning, from overt acts of behavior to emotional experience to the division of a single cell, are biological events and must be treated as such in our inquiries. This is not to advocate reductionism as the only workable strategy.


Behavioral Factor Behavioral State Tonic Level Behavioral Influence Behavioral Manipulation 
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.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul A. Obrist
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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