Biological Psychology (Stress) Exam Questions and Answers
1. The athletes at the start of the race take their marks and prepare for the sound of the starter's pistol. `BANG!` they're off!
(a) Identify one physical feeling that tells the athletes that they are feeling stressed. (1 mark)
Ans) The heart is beating faster and harder.
(b) Explain how the physical feeling you identified in part (a) was generated by the body's response to stress. (4 marks)
Ans) The physical feelings are caused by the pituitary-adrenal system being activated. This involves a part of the brain called the hypothalamus getting the body ready for action. It does this by sending a signal to the pituitary gland causing it release ACTH. This hormone is detected in the bloodstream by the adrenal cortex, which in response, releases more hormones called corticosteroids. It is these hormones which cause the physical feelings.
2. Jason always seems to have a cold at exam-time. Just his luck! Why might Jason be prone to colds around exams? (4 marks)
Ans) Examinations are a time of stress. Research has shown that stress can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, which is important in protecting us from infection and disease. For example, Kiecolt-Glaser et al found that the immune systems of medical students were affected by the stress of doing exams. An immune system which is being suppressed by stress is going to have difficulty fighting off infections from things like the cold virus, making us more likely to become ill.
3. Two men meet every morning walking their dogs and exchange greetings. One day, one of the men does not turn up. His friend later finds out that the man has suffered a heart attack.
Using what you have learned from studying stress in everyday life, what might make one man less likely to suffer with coronary heart disease (CHD) than another? (4 marks)
Ans) Personality is a factor which might make one man less likely to suffer CHD than another. According to Friedman and Rosenman, people with Type A personalities are more likely to suffer from CHD than people with Type B personalities. Type A people tend to be overly competitive, intense and driven. In their study they found that 70% of men who developed CHD were Type A individuals.
4. Tom shares an office with John, a young new employee. John regularly listens to music, and talks on the telephone with his colleagues and friends constantly.
(a) Identify one workplace factor that might be affecting Tom. (1 mark)
Ans) A noisy environment.
(b) Explain why the factor you have identified in part (a) might lead to Tom experiencing stress. (3 marks)
Ans) Work often involves some level of concentration. Things in the working environment which prevent concentration can be frustrating because they prevent you getting the job done. This is stressful. Noise is one example of something in the workplace that can prevent concentration and therefore cause stress.
5. Linda has had a lot to…