We report a study on twenty-two healthy human subjects of the dynamic relationship between cerebral hemoglobin concentration ([HbT]), measured with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in the prefrontal cortex, and systemic arterial blood pressure (ABP), measured with finger plethysmography. [HbT] is a measure of local cerebral blood volume (CBV). We induced hemodynamic oscillations at discrete frequencies in the range 0.04–0.20 Hz with cyclic inflation and deflation of pneumatic cuffs wrapped around the subject’s thighs. We modeled the transfer function of ABP and [HbT] in terms of effective arterial (K(a)) and venous (K(v)) compliances, and a cerebral autoregulation time constant (τ(AR)). The mean values (± standard errors) of these parameters across the twenty-two subjects were K(a) = 0.01 ± 0.01 μM/mmHg, K(v) = 0.09 ± 0.05 μM/mmHg, and τ(AR) = 2.2 ± 1.3 s. Spatially resolved measurements in a subset of eight subjects reveal a spatial variability of these parameters that may exceed the inter-subject variability at a set location. This study sheds some light onto the role that ABP and cerebral blood flow (CBF) play in the dynamics of [HbT] measured with NIRS, and paves the way for new non-invasive optical studies of cerebral blood flow and cerebral autoregulation.