Underlying mechanisms of increased pressor responses to stress in Blacks are poorly understood. Cardiovascular regulation of normotensive Black (n=43) and Caucasian (n=90) Africans was studied during a cold pressor and color-word conflict test. Autonomic evaluation was performed by spectral analysis. Higher diastolic pressor and heart rate responses to the cold pressor test were observed in Black compared to Caucasian Africans. Autonomic efferent outflow to stress was comparable between groups. Transient downregulation of baroreflex during stress was evident in Blacks but not in Caucasians. Greater diastolic pressor responses were related to a higher cardiac reactivity, a baroreflex desensitization, and higher stress perception in Black Africans. Thus, increased stress perception may facilitate cardiac and diastolic hyperreactivity, indirectly affecting baroreflex function in Black Africans.