Gary Berntson

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Gary Berntson
ResidenceColumbus, Ohio
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Known forCo-founder of Social neuroscience
Scientific career
FieldsSocial neuroscience and biological psychology
InstitutionsOhio State University (professor)

Gary Berntson (born 1945) is professor at Ohio State University with appointments in the departments of psychology, psychiatry and pediatrics. He is an expert in psychophysiology, neuroscience, biological psychology, and with his colleague John Cacioppo, a founding father of social neuroscience.[1] His research attempts to elucidate the functional organization of brain mechanisms underlying behavioral and affective processes, with a special emphasis on social cognition.


Berntson studied biology and psychology at the University of Minnesota, and was awarded a Ph.D. (psychobiology and life sciences) in 1971. He then worked as a post-doc fellow with Neal Miller at Rockefeller University in the department of psychology between 1971-1973. Since 1973, Berntson is on the faculty at the Ohio State University.

Editorial duties[edit]

  • Chief Associate Editor, Physiological Psychology, 1978-1985
  • Acting Editor, Physiological Psychology, 1983-1985
  • Associate Editor, Psychophysiology, 1994-1998
  • Co-Editor, Social Neuroscience Book Series, MIT Press, 2000–present
  • Secretary, Society for Psychophysiology, 2006-2009
  • Board of Directors, Society for Psychophysiology, 2006-2009
  • Associate Editor, Emotion Review, 2007-2009
  • Editorial Board, International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2007-
  • Editor (with John Cacioppo) of upcoming Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences

Research interests[edit]

The broad interest of Berntson's program is in the elucidation of the functional organization of brain mechanisms underlying behavioral and affective processes, with a special emphasis on social neuroscience. The program is guided conceptually by a recognition of the importance of multiple levels of analyzes in a meaningful understanding of complex neurobehavioral relations, and the strategic approach is collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature.[2] This is illustrated by current research on anxiety and autonomic control, which ranges from basic animal studies of central neural and neuropharmacological mechanisms, to human research that examines the links between psychological processes and autonomic as well as immune functions. Central to this program of research is an effort to understand, at a theoretical level, the organizational principles that characterize psychobiological relations. Recent collaborative research includes: a) the role of cognitive and social factors in autonomic regulation and immune functions, b) contribution of cortical/cognitive processes to anxiety, and the neural systems that mediate these relations, c) the impact of autonomic states on higher neural systems, d) the integrative organization of neurobehavioral, neuroendocrine, autonomic and immune systems, and e) psychoneuroimmunology and the social neuroscience of health and disease.

Selected books[edit]

  • Berntson, G.G. & Cacioppo, J.T. (2009). Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences. Wiley. ISBN 978-0470083550.
  • Cacioppo, J.T., Tassinary, L.G., & Berntson, G. G. (2007). Handbook of Psychophysiology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cacioppo, J.T., Berntson, G.G., & Adolphs, R. (2002). Foundations in Social Neuroscience. MIT Press.
  • Cacioppo, John; Berntson, Gary (2005-01-27). Social Neuroscience: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology). Psychology Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84169-099-5.

Selected articles[edit]

  • Berntson GG; Uchino BN; Cacioppo JT (1994). "Origins of baseline variance and the Law of Initial Values". Psychophysiology; 31(2): 204-10.
  • Cacioppo, J.T., Berntson, G.G. (2005). "Analysis of the social brain through the lens of human brain imaging." In Cacioppo, J. T. & Berntson, G. G. (eds.) Social Neuroscience (pp. 1–17). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Berntson, G.G., Lozano, D.L., & Chen, Y-J. (2005). "Filter properties of the root mean square successive difference (RMSSD) statistic in heart rate." Psychophysiology, 42, 246-252.
  • Bosch, J.A., Berntson, G.G., Cacioppo, J.T., & Marucha, P.T. (2005). "Differential mobilization of functionally distinct Natural Killer subsets during acute psychological stress." Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 366-375.
  • Hawkley, L.C., Berntson, G.G., Engeland, C.G., Marucha, P.T., Masi, C.M., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2005). "Stress, aging, and resilience: Can accrued wear and tear be slowed?" Canadian Psychology, 46, 114-125.
  • Berntson, G.G., & Cacioppo, J.T. (2005). "Multilevel analysis: Physiological and biochemical measures." In Eid, M. & Diener, E. (Eds.), Handbook of multimethod measurement in psychology. (pp. 157–172). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Berntson, G.G. & Cacioppo, J.T. (2006). "Reasoning about brains." In Cacioppo, J.T., Visser, P.S., & Picket, C.L. (Eds.) Social neuroscience: People thinking about thinking people. (pp 1–11). Cambrdige, MA: MIT Press.
  • Demaree, H.A., Schmeichel, B.J., Robinson, J.L., Pu, J., Everhart, D.E., & Berntson, G.G. (2006). "Up- and down-regulating facial disgust: Affective, vagal, sympathetic, and respiratory consequences." Biological Psychology, 71, 90-99.
  • Cacioppo J.T. & Berntson, G.G. (2006). "A bridge linking social psychology and the neurosciences." In Lange, P.M.V. (Ed.) Bridging social psychology. (pp 91–96). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Berntson, G.G., Bechara, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2007). "Amygdala contributions to selective dimensions of emotion." Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 2, 123-129.
  • Berntson, G.G., Norman, G.J., Hawkley, L.C. & Cacioppo, J.T. (2008). "Cardiac Autonomic Balance vs. Cardiac Regulatory Capacity."Psychophysiology, 45, 643-652.
  • Berntson, G.G. & Cacioppo, J.T. (2008). "The functional neuroarchitecture of evaluative processes." In A. Elliot (Ed.) Handbook of Approach and Avoidance Motivation. Elliot, A. (pp. 307–321) New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cacioppo, John; Bernston, Gary (2005-01-27). Social Neuroscience: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology). Psychology Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84169-099-5.
  2. ^ Cacioppo, J.T., & Berntson, G.G. (1992). Social psychological contributions to the decade of the brain: doctrine of multilevel analysis. American Psychologist, 47, 1019-1028.

External links[edit]

  • Gary Berntson Lab [1]
  • Ohio State University [2]