This paper reviews research on biofeedback and the self-regulation of cardiovascular processes, emphasizing the control of human blood pressure. The importance of examining patterns of central and peripheral neural mechanisms in the self-regulation of blood pressure is emphasized. First, research is presented demonstrating (1) specificity of control of heart rate, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure, and (2) patterning of heart rate, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Then, research is presented applying pattern biofeedback procedures to the regulation of combinations of EEG and cardiovascular responses. This research provides a new paradigm for studying neurophysiological mechanisms underlying cardiovascular self-regulation in the intact person. Finally, research examining both inter- and intrahemispheric EEG patterning is presented as a means of illustrating some of the central mechanisms involved in learned cardiovascular self-regulation. Implications for the study of hypertension are described, including a neurophysiological model of disregulation in psychosomatic disorders. It is argued that these neurophysiological considerations provide a necessary foundation for the behavioral treatment of certain types of hypertension.
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