1. Baroreflex sensitivity was tested in three normal, three borderline and one hypertensive subject before and during mental arithmetic, the prolongation of pulse interval caused by a provoked rise in blood pressure being used as a measure of baroreflex sensitivity.
2. Baroreflex sensitivity was significantly decreased during mental arithmetic.
3. During mental arithmetic the arterial pressure fluctuated markedly.
4. These findings suggest that in man, as well as animals, the defence of alerting reaction depresses baroreflex control and thus contributes to the rise in blood pressure seen at this time.