AS Psychology Stress

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  • Created by: Milo
  • Created on: 01-03-13 14:28

What is STRESS?

A RESPONSE to something in our environment or it can be a PERCIEVED mismatch between the demands of a situation and your ability to cope with it.

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What is a STRESSER?

The stimulus that brings about the stress response.

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The HYPOTHALAMUS starts PYSIOLOGICAL changes in the body once the CORTEX has registered a stressor. It CAUSES the change by TRIGGERING TWO biological Mechanisms.

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The two biological mechanisms



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Sympathetic Branch

This stimulates an: increased heart rate, pupil dilation, and glucose to be released.

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Parasympathetic Branch

This stimulates a: Decreased heart rate, pupil contraction, and glucose to be restored

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This is the shutdown of the immune system, resulting in the body to be more susceptible to invasion from antigens

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Work Overload

This is when employee’s feel they have too much work to do or required to work too fast, work is difficult and requires too much concentration

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Kiecolt Glaser


· Studied human responses to stress, it was a naturally occurring study – examinations. Volunteers.

· Blood samples taken from 75 1st year medical students (49 Males & 29 Females) samples were taken one month before their final exam and again after the students had completed their exams (stress samples)

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Kiecolt Glaser


· Natural killer cell activity declined between the two samples, confirming stress is associated with a reduced immune response


Volunteers were given questionnaires to asses’ psychiatric symptoms. Glaser founds that immune responses were especially weak in those students who reported feeling most lonely

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Kiecolt Glaser


· Stress is associated with a lower response in humans, and various external factors can moderate stress levels


· Natural experiment: higher ecological validity. Identification that there is a negative correlation between stress and immune system.

· Only medical students: not representative, cannot be generalised

· More males than there are females.

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Holmes & Rahe


· Study was to investigate whether the scores on the (SRRS) Social Readjustment Rating Scale were correlated with the onset of illness.

· 2,500 American male sailors were given scale about life events experiences in the last 6 months.

· Records were kept of their health status, and life change unites were correlated will sailors illness scores.


· Positive correlation +0.0118. Indicating that there is a relationship between LCU’s & health.

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This is when employees feel their skills and abilities are not being fully used and they become bored and frustrated

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Role expectations

The ways in which others expect a role to be fulfilled and once the employee feels as though they’re not reaching this potential and that they’re failing expectations, they become stressed

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This is where a person Publicly conforms to a groups’ behaviour but Privately maintaining their own views, this is the weakest form of conformity

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This keyword is: regarded as the change in behaviour due to real or imagined group pressure

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Social influence

Is the process by which an individual’s attitudes, beliefs or behaviours are modified by the presence or actions of others

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A person adopts the views or behaviour of a group both publicly and privately because they value the membership of that group. However, this behaviour is often temporary and is not maintained when you leave that group

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This is a true change of views to match a group publicly and privately. Their attitudes and behaviours have now become part of your own belief/value system. This is the strongest form of conformity. You still have the same behaviour and attitudes on leaving the group

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Normative Social Influence

This is when a person conforms because they desire to be Liked. They conform because they think that others will approve and accept them, this desire to be liked is normally due to compliance

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Informational Social Influence

This is based on the desire to be Right; a person may look to others who they believe are Correct and thus give the information about how to behave, particularly in novel situations or ambiguous ones. Further, in emergence they may yield to informational influence as they’re in panic

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· To see if P’s would yield to majority social influence and give the incorrect answers even though the correct ans were clear.


· 7 Male p’s looked at 2 Cards: Test Card & A card with 3 Vertical Lines

· P’s task was to call out which of the 3 lines matched that on the test card, correct ans was obvious

· Genuine P’s called out the ans last, whilst confederates gave unambiguous wrong answers

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· 32% of P’s in the critical trials conformed to the unanimous incorrect ans

· 74% of P’s conformed at least once

· 26% of P’s never conformed

Others Yielded because they could not bear to be in a minority of one and risk being ridiculed or excluded from the group (example of normative influence)


· Even in unambiguous situations if there is a strong group pressure present to conform, this makes people yield to group pressure

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· Andocentric

· Cannot generalise, lab experiment, low in ecological validity. However, high control can establish cause and effect.

· College students, also narrows down generalisability.

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This is where somebody acts in response to a direct order from an authority figure, or a perceived authority figure

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· He advertised in a local newspaper for MEN to take part in an experiment concerning Memory & Learning. Which was the conducted a Yale.

· 40 MEN, Volunteered, between the ages of 20-50,were paid $4.50 & took part

· One was dubbed the “Learner”(Confederate) whilst the other was told they was a “Teacher”

· Teacher was told to administer shocks to the learner when they got the answer wrong, and the shock intensity was increased each time.

· If the Teacher showed signs of withdrawal and unwillingness the experiment urged them to carry on.

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· 65% of Milgram’s P’s administered the maximum shock (450V)

· Meaning that 35% Did not go that far, however still participated

· German female p’s withdrawal

· P’s found experience very distressing once questioned after experiment


· Many ethical issues: Deception, protection from harm, and right to withdraw

· Internal validity: Critics suggest that p’s were just ‘Going along’ with it and giving the shocks not because of obedience and authority but because they had guessed the nature of experiment – Demand characteristics.

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Legitimate Authority

We obey people who are in positions of power in society because we perceive them to be legitimate authority and make the assumption that they know what they’re talking about

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