Chapter

Psychophysiology

Robert M. Stern, William J. Ray and Karen S. Quigley

in Psychophysiological Recording

Second edition

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780195113594
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199846962 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195113594.003.0001
Psychophysiology

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Psychophysiology is a relatively new discipline. In the mid-1950s, a group of physiological psychologists began referring to themselves as psychophysiologists. However, the subject matter of psychophysiology — the interaction of mind and body — has been studied for centuries by people trained as philosophers, physicists, physicians, physiologists, and, most recently, psychologists. John Stern (1964) defined the work of psychophysiology as “any research in which the dependent variable (the subject's response) is a physiological measure and the independent variable (the factor manipulated by the experimenter) a behavioral one”. Stern's definition of psychophysiology is not incorrect, but with the passage of time it has become too limiting. The type of research he was defining examined the physiological changes that accompanied certain psychological or behavioral manipulations. More recent experiments conducted by psychophysiologists show that it is equally tenable to manipulate physiological variables and examine behavioral changes. This chapter discusses the history of psychophysiology, Luigi Galvani's research on the electrical properties of the skin, theory on how electricity could improve people's health, and early instruments used to record psychophysiological changes.

Keywords: John Stern; psychophysiology; Luigi Galvani; research; mind; body; skin; electricity; instruments; behavioral changes

Chapter.  3751 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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