Autonomic behavior

Bernard T. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 gerontologist are the clinical studies which show that incontinent and hypertensive elderly patients can be trained to normalize their pathognomic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-502
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • autonomic
  • behavior
  • classical conditioning
  • learning
  • operant conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)

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