Cardiovascular Reactivity

The term cardiovascular reactivity refers to the response of the heart and blood circulatory system to stressful or evocative stimuli. As it pertains to psychological study, cardiovascular reactivity is primarily used as an indicator that someone is having a response to an experimental manipulation and/or as an index of the strength of that response. As such, the use of cardiovascular reactivity as a variable of interest in research or in practice falls under the domain of psychophysiological assessment. Thus, understanding cardiovascular reactivity as a measured response requires working knowledge of the biological structures and mechanisms involved in the functioning of the heart as well as some basic psychophysiological principles. These are reviewed in the next section, followed by a consideration of the cardiovascular variables most ...

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