Autonomic behavior

Exp Gerontol. 1993 Jul-Oct;28(4-5):499-502. doi: 10.1016/0531-5565(93)90075-o.


This article summarizes a body of work which collectively shows that autonomic responses meet the criteria for behavior. They can be modified reliably through the systematic use of antecedent (cues) and consequent (contingencies) stimuli. This means that autonomic responses, which are usually characterized as elicited reflexes, can be learned responses (viz., behaviors). This review cites a number of experimental and clinical studies in which autonomic learning has been shown to occur and to have clinical importance. Of special interest to gerontologists are the clinical studies which show that incontinent and hypertensive elderly patients can be trained to normalize their pathognomic responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Dogs
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Learning / physiology
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy