Gary G. Berntson

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Components of heart rate variability have attracted considerable attention in psychology and medicine and have become important dependent measures in psychophysiology and behavioral medicine. Quantification and interpretation of heart rate variability, however, remain complex issues and are fraught with pitfalls. The present report (a) examines the(More)
The affect system has been shaped by the hammer and chisel of adaptation and natural selection such that form follows function. The characteristics of the system thus differ across the nervous system as a function of the unique constraints existent at each level. For instance, although physical limitations constrain behavioral expressions and incline(More)
In the pain-flexor reflex, arm extension is temporally coupled with the onset of the unconditioned aversive stimulus, whereas flexion is associated with its offset; when retrieving desirable stimuli, arm flexion is more closely coupled temporally to the acquisition or consumption of the desired stimuli than arm extension. It was posited that these(More)
Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is being used increasingly in psychophysiological studies as an index of vagal control of the heart and may be among the most selective noninvasive indices of parasympathetic control of cardiac functions. A comprehensive understanding of RSA, however, requires an appreciation of its multiple autonomic and physiological(More)
All organisms must be capable of differentiating hostile from hospitable stimuli to survive. Typically, this evaluative discrimination is conceptualized as being bipolar (hostile-hospitable). This conceptualization is certainly evident in the area of attitudes, where the ubiquitous bipolar attitude measure, by gauging the net affective predisposition toward(More)
Two chimpanzees were trained to select among 2 different amounts of candy (1-6 items). The task was designed so that selection of either array by the active (selector) chimpanzee resulted in that array being given to the passive (observer) animal, with the remaining (nonselected) array going to the selector. Neither animal was able to select consistently(More)
Contemporary findings reveal that the multiple modes of autonomic control do not lie along a single continuum extending from parasympathetic to sympathetic dominance but rather distribute within a 2-dimensional space. The physiological origins and empirical documentation for the multiple modes of autonomic control are considered. Then a formal 2-dimensional(More)
Behavioral contexts can evoke a variety of autonomic modes of response, characterized by reciprocal, coactive, or independent changes in the autonomic divisions. In the present study, we investigated the reactive autonomic control of the heart in response to psychological stressors, using quantitative methods for analyzing single and double autonomic(More)
OBJECTIVE Two studies using cross-sectional designs explored four possible mechanisms by which loneliness may have deleterious effects on health: health behaviors, cardiovascular activation, cortisol levels, and sleep. METHODS In Study 1, we assessed autonomic activity, salivary cortisol levels, sleep quality, and health behaviors in 89 undergraduate(More)