Systolic Blood Pressure and a Simple Reaction Time Task

K. Paller, D. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular changes during a reaction time task have been hypothetically related to the speed of response with implications for a close connection between the two, but little research has attempted to characterize the pressor response in this situation. In this study, continuous measures of heart rate, respiration, and systolic blood pressure (using a noninvasive tracking‐cuff system) were made in 12 subjects during a visually signalled reaction time task with a fixed foreperiod of 6 sec. Consistent and significant changes were shown over the course of the foreperiod–an increase in systolic pressure, a multiphasic pattern in heart rate, and a decrease in respiration amplitude. There was a nonsignificant increase in respiration rate. Correlations between response latency and various indices of physiological level and change during the foreperiod were low and nonsignificant. The changes in heart rate and systolic blood pressure during the foreperiod appeared independent of one another. Interrelationships between the physiological measures in their phasic and tonic changes, and the implications of the findings for cardiovascular‐behavioral interactions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-588
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1983


  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Reaction time
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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