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Laterality. 2013;18(1):108-19. doi: 10.1080/1357650X.2011.631545. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Cerebral asymmetry in the control of cardiovascular functioning: evidence from lateral vibrotactile stimulation.

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Psychology Department, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA.


Research has supported hemispheric specialisation in the regulation of cardiovascular functioning, with the left hemisphere being associated with parasympathetic functioning and the right hemisphere with sympathetic functioning. We sought to investigate this relationship further using vibrotactile stimulation applied to the palms. Our prediction was that vibrotactile stimulation applied to the left hand would result in increased heart rate and blood pressure, and that stimulation applied to the right hand would result in decreased heart rate and blood pressure. The results indicated significant differences in heart rate change scores in the predicted direction. No differences were noted for systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Hence the findings provide partial support for the lateralisation of autonomic functions.

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