Modulation of Slow Cortical Potentials by Instrumentally Learned Blood Pressure Responses Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We assessed whether instrumentally-learned pressor responses inhibit electrocortical activity, as predicted by learning theories of idiopathic hypertension. Subjects received beat-by-beat feedback for increases and decreases in mean arterial pressure measured from the finger (Peñáz method). Slow potentials were recorded from the midsagittal line during the final training session. Also recorded at this time were heart rate, eye movements, respiration, and post-session verbal reports of the subject's control strategies. Thirteen of 14 subjects differentiated blood pressure increases and decreases at p less than .05 or better during the final session (within-subject discriminative operant procedure). Slow potentials were less negative on blood pressure increase compared to decrease trials at all midsagittal sites (p less than .02), indicating relative cortical inhibition by pressor responses. This effect occurred even though subjects reported tensing of muscles on increase trials (p less than .01), a behavioral activity previously associated with augmented rather than diminished cortical negativity. On increase trials slow potentials shifted toward positivity just prior to heart rate deceleration (the latter effect confirming activation of the baroreceptors).

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publication date

  • March 1992