Principles of Psychophysiology

  • Michael Feuerstein
  • Elise E. Labbé
  • Andrzej R. Kuczmierczyk


As discussed in Chapter 2, psychophysiological concepts and techniques have played an important role in the development of health psychology. The field of psychophysiology has contributed much to the understanding and treatment of a variety of health problems. Therefore, an understanding of the field is essential for an in-depth appreciation of health psychology. The purpose of this chapter is to review basic psychophysiological concepts and techniques. A review of principles of the nervous and endocrine systems is followed by an overview of the physiological response systems that are often the focus of study in the field. Finally, theoretical considerations in the field will be presented and their implications for understanding psychological mechanisms of health and illness discussed. Psychophysiological research relevant to health and illness will be discussed throughout this book. The material covered in this chapter will provide a basis for understanding such research.


Skin Conductance Skin Resistance Physiological Reactivity Electrodermal Activity Autonomic Balance 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andreassi, J. L. (1980). Psychophysiology: Human behavior and physiological response. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ax, A. F. (1953). The physiological differentiation of fear and anger in humans. Psychosomatic Medicine, 15, 433–442.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, C. C (Ed.). (1967). Methods in psychophysiology. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  4. Cannon, W. B. (1927). The James-Lange theory of emotion: A critical examination and an alternative theory. American Journal of Psychology, 39, 106–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Christie, M. J., & Woodman, D. D. (1980). Biochemical methods. In I. Martin & P. H. Venables (Eds.), Techniques in psychophysiology (pp. 459–500). Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Coulbourn Instruments. (1984). Muscle action potentials-Raw form and integrated form. In Users Guide to: Operation, Specifications, Applications (p. 45). Lehigh Valley, PA: Coulbourn Instruments.Google Scholar
  7. Duffy, E. (1962). Activation and behavior. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Edelberg, R. (1972). Electrical activity of the skin. In N. S. Greenfield & R. A. Sternbach (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (pp. 367–418). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  9. Engel, B. T. (1972). Response specficity. In N. S. Greenfield & R. A. Sternbach (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (pp. 571–576). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  10. Eysenck, H. J. (1977). The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL.: Charles C Thomas.Google Scholar
  11. Feuerstein, M., Barr, R. G., & Iezzi, A. (1985). The ambulatory psychophysiological monitoring system (APMS). Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  12. Frankenhaeuser, M. (1975). Sympathetic-adrenomedullary activity, behaviour and the psychosocial environment. In P. H. Venables & M. J. Christie (Eds.), Research in psychophysiology. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Frankenhaeuser, M., Northeden, B., Myrsten, A. L., & Post, B. (1971). Psychophysiological reactions to understimulation and overstimulation. Acta Psychologica, 35, 298–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greenfield, N. S., & Sternbach, R. A. (Eds.). (1972). Handbook of psychophysiology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  15. Grings, W. W., & Dawson, M. E. (1978). Emotions and bodily responses: A psychophysiological approach. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  16. Guyton, A. C. (1979). Physiology of the human body (5th ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  17. Hare, R. D. (1973). Orienting and defensive responses to visual stimuli. Psychophysiology, 20(5), 453–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hassett, J. (1978). A primer of psychophysiology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  19. Haywood, H. C., & Spielberger, C. D. (1966). Palmar sweating as a function of individual differences in manifest anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3,103–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hokanson, J. E. (1961). Vascular and psychogalvanic effects of experimentally aroused anger. Journal of Personality, 29, 30–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacob, S. W., & Francore, C. A. (1970). Structure and Function in Man (2nd ed.). New York: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  22. Kahneman, D., Tursky, B., Shapiro, D., & Crider, A. (1969). Pupillary, heart rate and skin resistance changes during a mental task. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 79, 164–167.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kallman, W., & Feuerstein, M. (1977). Psychophysiological procedures. In A. R. Ciminero, K. S. Calhoun, & H. E. Adams (Eds.), Handbook of behavioral assessment (pp. 329–364). New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
  24. Lacey, J. I. (1959). Psychophysiological approaches to the evaluation of psychotherapeutic process and outcome. In E. A. Rubenstein & M. B. Parloff (Eds.), Research in psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  25. Lacey, J. I., Kagan, J., Lacey, B. C, & Moss, H. A. (1963). The visceral level: Situational determinants and behavioral correlates of autonomic response patterns. In P. H. Knapp (Ed.), Expression of the emotions in man. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lang, P. J. (1979). A bio-informational theory of emotional imagery. Psychophysiology, 16, 495–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lang, P. J., Melamed, B. G., & Hart, J. E. (1970). A psychophysiological analysis of fear modification using an automated desensitization procedure. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 76, 220–234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lawler, K. A., Obrist, P. A., & Lawler, J. E. (1976). Cardiac and somatic response patterns during a reaction time task in children and adults. Psychophysiology, 13, 448–455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lazarus, R. S., & Alfert, E. (1964). Short-circuiting of threat by experimentally altering cognitive appraisal. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 69, 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Levi, L. (1972). Psychosocial stimuli, psychophysiological reactions and disease. Acta Medi-ca Scandinavica (Suppl. 528).Google Scholar
  31. Lippold, O. C J. (1967). Electromyography. In P. H. Venables & I. Martin (Eds.), Manual of psychophysiological methods (pp. 247–297). Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, I., & Venables, P. H. (Eds.). (1980). Techniques in psychophysiology. Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. Mason, J. W. (1972). Organization of psychoendocrine mechanism: A review and reconsideration of research. In N. S. Greenfield & R. A. Sternbach (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (pp. 3–91). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  34. Moos, R. H., & Engel, B. T. (1962). Psychophysiological reactions in hypertensive and arthritic patients. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 6, 227–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Neary, R. S., & Zuckerman, M. (1976). Sensation seeking, trait and state anxiety, and the electrodermal orienting response. Psychophysiology, 13(3), 205–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Obrist, P. A. (1981). Cardiovascular psychophysiology: A perspective. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Picton, T. W. (1980). The use of human event-related potentials in psychology. In I. Martin & P. H. Venables (Eds.), Techniques in psychophysiology. Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  38. Rasmussen, H. (1974). Organization and control of endocrine systems. In R. H. Williams (Ed.), Textbook of endocrinology (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.Google Scholar
  39. Roessler, R., & Engel, B. T. (1974). The current status of the concepts of physiological response specificity and activation. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 5, 359–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schwartz, G. E. (1975). Biofeedback, self-regulation, and the patterning of physiological processes. The American Scientist, 63(3), 314–324.Google Scholar
  41. Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. Selye, H. (1976). Stress in health and disease. Reading, MA: Butterworth.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, D. B. D., & Wenger, M. A. (1965). Changes in autonomic balance during phasic anxiety. Psychophysiology, 1, 267–271.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sokolov, E. N. (1963). Perception and the conditioned reflex. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  45. Stelmack, C. M., & Mandelzya, N. (1975). Extraversion and pupillary response to affective and taboo words. Psychophysiology, 12, 536–540.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sternbach, R. A. (1964). The effects of instructional sets on autonomic responsivity. Psychophysiology, 1, 67–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sternbach, R. A. (1966). Principles of psychophysiology: An introductory text and readings. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sternbach, R. A., & Tursky, B. (1965). Ethnic differences among housewives in psychophysical and skin potential responses to electric shock. Psychophysiology, 1, 241–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thomas, A., Chess, S., & Burch, H. G. (1970). The origin of personality. Scientific American, 223, 102–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Usdin, E., Kretnansky, R., & Kopin, I. (1976). Catecholamines and stress. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  51. Van Toller, C. (1979). The nervous body: An introduction to the autonomic nervous system and behavior. Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  52. Walker, B. B., & Sandman, C. A. (1977). Physiological response patterns in ulcer patients: Phasic and tonic components of the electrogastrogram. Psychophysiology, 14(4), 393–400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Weinberger, D. A., Schwartz, G. E., & Davidson, R. J. (1979). Low-anxious, high-anxious, and repressive coping styles: Psychometric patterns and behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 369–380.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wenger, M. A. (1941). The measurement of individual differences in autonomic balance. Psychosomatic Medicine, 3, 427–434.Google Scholar
  55. Wenger, M. A. (1948). Studies of autonomic balance in Army Air Forces personnel. Comparative Psychology Monographs, 19 (4, Serial No. 101).Google Scholar
  56. Wenger, M. A. (1972). Studies of autonomic balance: A summary. Psychophysiology, 2,173–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yuwiler, A. (1976). Stress, anxiety and endocrine function. In R. Grenell & S. Galay (Eds.), Biological foundations of psychiatry. New York: Raven Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Feuerstein
    • 1
  • Elise E. Labbé
    • 2
  • Andrzej R. Kuczmierczyk
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  2. 2.University of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations