Psychomotor speed in hypertension: Effects of reaction time components, stimulus modality, and phase of the cardiac cycle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes


Hypertension is characterized by cognitive deficits. As evidence for impaired psychomotor speed, including slower reaction times, is mixed, we aimed to provide a detailed investigation of simple reaction time in hypertension. Pre-motor and motor reaction times were measured across the cardiac cycle in 30 hypertensives and 29 normotensives to determine the effects of phasic and tonic blood pressure on performance. Auditory, visual, and tactile simple reaction time tasks were completed with stimuli presented 0, 300, and 600 ms after the R-wave of the electrocardiogram. Reaction times did not differ between hypertensives and normotensives. Although pre-motor reaction times were faster during the late phase than the early phase of the cardiac cycle whereas motor reaction times were unchanged, this effect was similar for hypertensives and normotensives. No sensory-motor deficits were evident in these hypertensives regardless of baroreceptor activity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • psychomotor speed, hypertension, cardiac cycle time, simple reaction time, cognitive function