Exploration Of A Pavlovian Approach To Peripheral Vasomotor Conditioning

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology


The present study experimentally explored a clinically practical technique for classically conditioning peripheral vascular dilation in human subjects.Subjects were volunteers (n = 19) who were randomly assigned to two groups, a classical conditioning group and a pseudoconditioning control group. All subjects were conditioned in a peripheral vasoconstrictive state. The unconditioned stimuli consisted of both infrared heat radiated against the sides of the subject's head and a reduction of airflow in the experimental chamber. The conditioned stimulus was an auditory cue.Subjects underwent the treatment procedure and post-treatment response recording during one 75 minute treatment session. Changes in surface temperature during the extinction trials were interpreted as reflecting changes in peripheral blood.Both the experimental and control groups responded as predicted to the UCS with increases in peripheral skin temperature. The experimental (classical conditioning) group demonstrated an increase in skin temperature as compared to both a baseline and the control group at the time periods 9, 12, 24 and 36 seconds after exposure to the conditioned stimulus.Release of peripheral vasoconstrictive tone is conditionable using a classical conditioning paradigm and clinically practical equipment.


Psychology, Physiological

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text