Cardiovascular response during a word association test and an interview

R. B. Williams, B. L. Frankel, J. C. Gillin, James L Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous work has demonstrated a consistent increase in diastolic blood pressure during an interview relative to a word association test. A consideration of normal cardiovascular mechanisms suggests that such increased diastolic pressure could be associated with decreased forearm blood flow. This expectation is at variance with previous studies in which psychological stimuli have been associated only with increased forearm blood flow. Forearm blood flow and pulse rate were measured during rest periods and during a word association test and an interview in 8 normal volunteers and 8 psychiatric inpatients. Twelve of the 16 Ss showed a decrease in forearm blood flow during the interview, thus confirming our expectation. That this decrease is an active response, rather than a passive fall, is suggested by the finding of increased heart rate during the interview. The cardiovascular responses of the patient group differed in some respects from those of the normal group. It is hypothesized that the attentional deficit of the schizophrenics in the patient sample may have contributed to this difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-577
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Williams, R. B., Frankel, B. L., Gillin, J. C., & Weiss, J. L. (1973). Cardiovascular response during a word association test and an interview. Psychophysiology, 10(6), 571-577.