Conditioned hormonal responses: a systematic review in animals and humans


In contrast to classical conditioning of physiological responses such as immune responses and drug effects, only a limited number of studies investigated classical conditioning of endocrine responses. The present paper is the first systematic review that integrates evidence from animal and human trials regarding the possibility to condition the endocrine responses. Twenty-six animal and eight human studies were included in the review. We demonstrated that there is accumulating evidence that classical conditioning processes are able to influence specific endocrine responses, such as cortocosterone/cortisol and insulin, while more limited evidence exists for other hormones. Animal and human studies were generally consistent in their findings; however, the limited number of human studies makes it difficult to generalize and translate the results of animal research to humans. Next to methodological recommendations for future studies, we suggest several ways how classically conditioned endocrine responses can be used in clinical practice.

Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology
Aleksandrina Skvortsova
Aleksandrina Skvortsova
Assistant Professor