Biological Psychology PSYA2

PSYA2 notes for Biological psychology section.

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  • Created on: 26-05-13 16:08
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Biological psychology
Stress is a `mismatch between the perceived demands of the environment and one's perceived
ability to cope with those demands'
Stressor= `Any internal or external factors that are threatening and have the potential to produce a
stress response'
The nervous system can be divided into the central and peripheral nervous systems. The central
nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The ANS has two divisions, the sympathetic
and parasympathetic branches. The sANS becomes active when a stressor is encountered as
sympathetic dominance leads to a pattern of bodily arousal. This response is known as flight or fight.
The endocrine system consists of a number of glands which secrete hormones. The process enabling
an organism to maintain a stable internal environment is homeostasis. These mechanisms are
controlled by the hypothalamus.
Nervous system (sANS)- Shock response Endocrine System (HPAC)- Counter shock
Consists of nerve cells Consists of ductless glands
Transmits nerve impulses Releases hormones
Acts rapidly Acts slowly
Direct control Indirect control
Specific effects of neurotransmitters Hormones spread around the body
Short lived effects Hormones remain in the blood for some time
The Autonomic Nervous system (immediate acute stressors)
Sympathetic pathway (sANS) Parasympathetic pathway
Activation of organs All together Each one independently
Pulse Raises Decreases
Blood pressure Higher Lower
Pupil size Dilates Constricts
Amount of air into lungs More Less
Glucose Released Stored
Bladder Relaxes Tightens
The pituitary adrenal system- The stress response starts in the hypothalamus. This tiny gland has two
actions. Firstly it stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete the hormone called ATCH which in turn
stimulates the Adrenal Cortex to release hormones called corticosteroids (including cortisol.) They
affect the liver to release stored glucose and they suppress the action of the immune system to
attack any invading antigens.

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Sympathomedullary pathway- The hypothalamus stimulates the sANS nervous system, which affects
the adrenal medulla to release the hormone adrenaline and the neurotransmitter noradrenaline into
the bloodstream. These produce physiological reactions linked with the flight or fight response, such
as increased heart rate and blood pressure.…read more

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Relapse of cancer more common (Palesh et al '09)
Other Negative Effects
-Poor exam performance (De Meuse '85)
-Inability to cope with new stressors (Bonanno et al '07)
-Unhealthy life habits like smoking and drinking (Simantov '00, Courtois, and Erlandsson et al)
Holmes and Rahe stress scale
The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness; each
event was then given an LCU value representing the degree of stress it caused.…read more

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Type A personality- Friedman and Rosenman described the Type A personality as possessing three
major characteristics:
Competitiveness and achievement striving
Impatience and time urgency
Hostility and aggressiveness
These are believed to lead to raised blood pressure and an increase in levels of stress hormone.
Therefore they are more likely to die of cardiovascular problems.…read more

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Sheehy and Horan found that sessions of SIT reduced anxiety and stress among students over time,
as well as improving their academic performance
-Preparation for future stressors- SIT gives the client the necessary skills so they are less adversely
affected by stressors in the future.
Cons- Time consuming and requires high motivation. Although SIT has been criticised because of this,
Meichenbaum has also demonstrated the effectiveness of relatively brief periods of training
suggesting this it is necessarily true
-Unnecessarily complex.…read more

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Illness and the immune system
-Kiegolt-Glaser `84
-Kiegolt-Glaser `95
-Cohen `93
-Marucha `98
Stress and everyday life
-Rahe et al `70
-Newman et al `07
-Bonnano `07
-Kanner `81
-De Longis `88
Stress and personality
-Rosenman and Friedman `58
-Marmot et al `97
-Lee and Watanuki `07
Stress management
-Budzynski `73
-Trivedi `06
-Meichenbaum `85
-Gallards et al `99…read more


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