How does the nervous system enable psychological functioning?
How does the nervous system enable psychological functioning?
Stress as an example of a psychobiological process
Sources of Stress
Distress - a negative psychological response to a stressor, indicated by the presence of negative psychological states. e.g. anger, anxiety, nervousness, irritability or tension.
Stress as a biological process
The General Adaptation Syndrome
Alarm Reaction Stage
When we first perceive a threat our level of resistance to stress falls below normal.
Physiologically, the body reacts as if it were injured
The Sympathetic Nervous System is activated, arousal levels increase and resistance to the stressor increases above normal levels.
Physiological arousal remains higher than normal
Cortisol levels increase to energise the body and repair damage, however, this compromises our immune system
The body does not have the energy supplies needed to continue resistance indefinitely
Prolonged exposure to the stressor, means the body’s resources have been depleted
Strengths of the GAS
Weaknesses of the GAS
The Fight Flight Freeze Response:
Body’s involuntary physiological response to a sudden + immediate threat by either confronting it (fight), escaping from it (flight) or becoming immobilised (freeze)
The Role of Cortisol
Strategies for coping with stress
Exercise: Physical activity that is usually planed + performed to improve or maintain your physical condition
Results in the release of endorphins, reducing pain + stress levels + improving mood
Helps reduce muscle tension associated with elevated sympathetic NS activity
Reduces stress hormone levels, which reduces the experience of stress. Allows immune system functioning to return to normal
Increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system AND increases strength + stamina to help when encountering future stressors
Acts as a distraction or ‘time out’ from a stressor
Approach Strategies: Efforts to confront with the stressor and deal with it and its direct effects
Avoidance Strategies: Involve efforts that evade a stressor + deal indirectly with it and its effects
Coping Flexibility: The ability to effectively adjust one's coping strategy according to the demands of different stressful situations
Context-specific effectiveness: The degree to which the coping strategy matches the stressful situation
Eustress- a positive psychological response to a stressor, indicated by the presence of positive psychological state e.g. feeling enthusiastic and motivated, excited, active and alert.
Stress as a psychological process
Lazarus & Folkman's Transactional Model of Stress and Coping
An assessment of how much damage has already occurred.
An assessment of harm/loss that may not have yet occurred but could occur in the future.
An assessment of the potential for personal gain or growth from the situation.
Secondary Appraisal : If coping resources are adequate then it is eustress. If coping resources are not adequate it is distress.
Strengths of the Model
Focuses on psychological determinants of the stress response over which we have control
Emphasises the personal nature and individuality of the stress response and respects personal appraisals of a situation
explains why individuals respond in different ways to the same sorts of stressors
Weaknesses of the Model
difficult to test through experimental research because of the subjective nature of individual responses to stress
individuals may not always be conscious or aware of all the factors causing them stress
primary and secondary appraisals are difficult to isolate for study as seperate variables
The role of the neuron
: receives and processes information from pre synaptic neuron
: where messages travel along the neuron
: Fatty substance around the axon, speeds up neural transmissions + protects the axon
: store and release neurotransmitters into the synapse
connection between two neurons.
consists of axon of the pre synaptic neuron and dendrites of the post synaptic neuron
Primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS.
Enhance learning and memory
Stimulates/triggers neurons to fire
Makes postsynaptic neurons in the brain less likely to fire.
Plays role in regulating anxiety and balances activity of glutamate
Chronic changes to neurotransmitter functioning
A progressive disease of the nervous system evident by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, primarily affecting middle-aged and elderly people.
: a layer of gray matter found in the midbrain which containing the cell bodies of a tract of dopamine-producing nerve cells
loss of sense in smell
Key features of the illness:
: - Involved in pleasure and reward, voluntary muscles movement, attention and emotional arousal.
Lock and key theory
Each type of Neurotransmitter has a chemically distinct shape.
Neurotransmitter will look for right shape then bind and "unlock" the post synaptic neuron
Roles of the divisions of the nervous system
Central Nervous System
receive and process info(internal/external), coordinates a response
receive and process sensory information
initiates, responds and controls actions
carries sensory info to the brain from body
carries motor info from brain to body
unconscious, involuntary, automatic response
no involvement of brain
spinal cord responds to the message directly
-faster reaction time
Peripheral Nervous System
carries info to CNS from body
carries motor info from CNS to body
Somatic Nervous System
sensory and skeletal
carries sensory info to CNS
carries motor info from CNS to skeletal muscles to control voluntary movement
Autonomic Nervous System
self-regulation of the body, unconsciously and involuntarily
Parasympathetic Nervous System
dominates most of the time
eg: constricts pupils, HR slows, stimulates digestion
Sympathetic Nervous System
prepares the body for vigorous activity
enhances survival to deal with a stressful situation
eg: dilated pupils, HR accelerates, inhibits digestion
Concious vs Unconscious responses (Differences)
aware vs unawre
voluntary vs involuntary
-complex vs simple
vary vs same
eg: put on a jumper, put on sunnies
involuntary, unintentional, automatic
increases ones chance of survival
eg: goose bumps or shiver, pupils constrict