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PSYC 100
Catherine Rawn

Chapter 12: Health Psychology Psychology 100 Week 18, Friday February 1, 2013 Acute: small, sudden, immediate, usually short term Recall flags of scientific thinking and consider their application in alternative health claims 1. Ruling out Rival Hypothesis 2. Occam’s Razor (parsimony) 3. Falsifiability 4. Correlation vs. Causation 5. Reliability 6. Extraordinary Claims require extraordinary evidence Health Psychology  To understand how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness  Integrates behavioural sciences with medicine practice - Define Stress by describing its relationship to hassles and resources  Hassles o Things that happen that we need to deal with o Acute (short term) or chronic (long term)  Resources o Time, Money or other tangible supplies, Skills, Social support, Appraisals, Coping skills, and “Adaption energy” Acute vs. Chronic Acute: short term hassles  Examples: o Bus is late o Argument with friend o Long waiting at the line Chronic: Major Life Events  Examples: o Deaths, Change school/job, Break law, Fired, Health issues of loved ones o Stressors= Hassles- Adequate Resources Hassles  Can cope  Have enough resources  This event can be a challenge to overcome Stressors  Don’t have enough resources  Lose sleep over it  This event can be a threat that can ruin your life -Explain how the body responds to acute stressors  Physical Symptoms o Heart race, Insomnia, Shortness of breath  Psychological Symptoms o Anxiety, Distracted/unable to concentrate, Irritable...  Maladaptive Behaviours o Drug use, all-nighters, stops exercising… When we experience a stressor, we can make it worse by these maladaptive behaviours -Using General Adaption Syndrome, predict how the immune system responds to acute and repeated stressors Alarm Reaction Cope Exhaustion Example: Exam Period Exam week starts, lots of studying, doing pretty well then all of a sudden, crash; get super tired or sick. This leads to immune system response Responding to acute stressor: Immune system response  Immune system is complex o Defense system o Identifies, kills bacteria, viruses, etc. o Boost to the immune system means we’re healthier. Become more resistant to viruses o When our immune system is weakened, it makes it more likely for use to get sick  Type of immune response depends on the time-frame of stressor How do different stressors affect the immune system? - If the stressor is an acute threat, immune system gets a temporary boost - If the stressor is chronically present, immune system weakens over time Immune System Response to Stressors Short-term stressor (Fight or Flight) Benefits to immune response Long-term stressors Worsens immune response Example that could be predicted by the General Adaptation Syndrome - Your teacher gives you a surprise quiz; your heart pounds and you feel a bit nauseated (alarm stage, the event suddenly happens) - You always seem to catch a cold during final exam week, when you need to study the most (the exhaustion stage, crashing at important times) - You are able to remain alert and in control as you help a family member through a few weeks of serious illness (the coping stage, being able to handle the situation) Week 19, Monday February 4, 2013 -Describe the major health risks associated with chronic stress and summarize the research evidence for those relationships 1. Stress charges autonomic nervous system (Charged autonomic nervous system)  “Fight or flight” stress response is in the sympathetic system which arouses 2. Chronic stress impairs immune functioning (Immune Suppression)  Biggest likelihoods of getting cold o Chronic interpersonal conflicts (going through divorce) o Chronic work problems (unemployment and underemployment)  No effect with the cold virus from acute sensors  Not affected by age, education, race, antibodies, gender, body mass, season, virus type  Small effects from smoking, not exercising at least twice a week, and poor sleep quality  If experiencing the stressor that last a long time like 2 years than it is a lot more likely to catch the cold virus than someone without any stressor  People who grow up in “risky” family is also affected by a chronic stressor. The general excepted environment is not being met o Conflict, chaos, low warmth, inadequate parenting o Inflammation is a signal that your immune system is kicking in (when you get a small cut and it turns red, that means immune system is kicking in) o Short-term inflammation is essential for healing (when it goes red, it is a good thing) o Cortisol response is responsible for saying tone it down to inflammation, when there is enough inflammation o Long term inflammation predicts chronic diseases (when it stays too long, it is a bad thing) o After tracking their immune responses and stressors overtime, had from acute stressors in their lives had stronger inflammation response, these women were more reactive at a level of their immune system to short term everyday stressors. Their cortisol was less able to calm inflammation. Both of these factors lead to chronic diseases and the factors worsened overtime. These risky family women had higher risk of getting chronic diseases than other women. o When you’re growing up in an environment where it is not safe which is full of continual psychological and physical risks, your body develops a response pattern that continually chronically ready to “fight or flight”. You get this short-term boost, which then becomes a habit to your body. Like training your immune system for the short-term response. Over the long term this constant low grade information converts into high risk factor for chronic diseases o Stress related to chronic disease risks are not evenly distributed around society 3. Chronic Stress Increases Risk of Heart Problems (Heart Disease)  First pathway:  Repeated or ongoing events in your life (like stressors or a build up of acute stressors or chronic ones) cause chronic Stress and Depression  Then these go on to create an everyday life situation that is filled with adrenaline boosts and high blood pressure  This everyday life situation that gets involved with adrenaline boosts and high blood pressure can lead to rapidly forming blood clots and excessive inflammation  Which is a risk factor for heart attacks  Second pathway: through bad behaviour means  Chronic stress also leads to heart attacks through behavioral needs  Chronic stress correlates with o Smoking, overeating, poor food choices, avoiding exercise and others. (these are bad behaviours because they increase risks for heart attacks) 4. Chronic Stress can Progress Diseases and Inhibit Healing (Disease Progression)  Once you got a disease or a wound, chronic stress makes it harder to come back from that  Positive correlation: o Chronic stress and speed of decline in HIV/AIDS  More inflammation and persistent  We need to reduce inflammation at some point to be able to heal  Wounds would heal more slowly if in chronic situation o Ex. Primary caregivers of very ill spouse (watching love one die) o Ex. Couples with hostile marriages 5. Is chronic stress related to Cancer?  Stress appearance, growth, spread of some tumors in animal models o Eg. Mice: Chronic Stress + UV exposure, it will have an increase in skin cancer risk  In humans o Stress can maybe cause it but not sure o But stress can aggravate it (worsen the cancer) Less Risk of developing disease  Grew up in a home with alcoholic parents and is now raising two toddlers with her supportive partner  Has been unemployed for two years and has applied for a loan to re-train in another field of expertise More Risk of developing disease  Grew up in a home with alcoholic parents and is now raising two toddlers on her own  Did not finish high school, has been unemployed for two years and considering giving up The differences between the two groups are social relationships and when we think about giving up and hopelessness versus actually trying to proactively make a change, to make life better. Thinking about our circumstances in life and what we do about them, how we interpret them and how we deal with them; that difference can make a difference for whether something becomes a chronic disease inducing stressor or not. -List and describe four individual differences characteristics that can influence how much stress life events cause How much stress does a life event cause?  It depends… 1. Emotionality a. Reactivity b. More type A vs. more Type B pattern 2. Explanatory style a. Optimism vs. pessimism 3. Perceived control 4. Social support 1. Emotion a) Reactivity affects stress response to life events  Example study: Stressed Kids Study o Cold presser task o Hyper-reacted to stressor as a kid as response to putting hand in ice bath  70% of the kids became high blood pressure as adults o Little reaction as a kid  19% of the kids became high blood pressure as adults  Conclusion: emotionality has an impact on the way we interpret stressful life events  Some people are more emotionally reactive than others and it turns out that socioeconomic status and the risky life situation at the beginning of your life, predicts emotional reactivity o We see people who come from a more stressful and less stable environment as children, has a predisposition to experience and interpret the world in a more emotionally reactive way which puts them at a greater risk of chronic stress b) Type A versus Type B a. Type A behaviour pattern i. Excessive competitive drive, intense disposition, impatient, hostile, move quickly, rapid speech, easily angered ii. Higher risk of developing heart disease iii. Type a IS NOT competitively driven, it is characterized by hostility and aggression, that side of competitiveness b. Type B behaviour pattern i. Relatively less hostile, more easygoing and patient and tolerant, talk more slowly ii. Lower risk of developing heart disease c. Continuum! NOT discrete categories (along the line of a spectrum) 2. Explanatory Style  “The difference between stubbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them”  Look on the bright side! o Optimism correlates positively with…  Perceiving control  Reporting fewer illnesses  Smaller blood pressure spike in response to stressors (smaller sympathetic nervous system spike)  Shorter recovery time after surgeries  Longer lifespan than pessimistic people  NOT CORRELATIONAL! o Book: Learned optimism; how to change your mind and your life; Martin E. P. Seligman Retirement home study Brought everyone on one floor together and told them about how they are free to choose what they want to do with their day, they can choose to watch a movie, and here is a plant, if you want to keep it. (emphasizing lots of choices) On another floor it was the opposite. We are offering this film, we will be bringing you down to see it at this time. Here is a plant, our nurse will come water it for you. This has the same type of manipualtions as above but on one floor choice is emphasized and on the other floor, choice is not emphasized. What happened? People in the no choice floor: at higher stress levels, less happy and died sooner than the other floor with choice that is highlighted. When the choices in their life were more salient, it actually a boost. Choice people’s lives were enhanced. Choice and the perception of choice is vital, it is important life. Week 19 Wednesday February 6, 2013 Recap: Chronic stress can increase risk of heart disease by 1) Everyday life involved adrenaline boosts, which can lead to excessive inflammation 2) Increase likelihood of poor diet and exercise regimens, which can lead to high blood pressure 3. Perceived Control Nursing Home Study The effects that perceiving control have on the participants’ lives: 1) People in the choices condition felt haper over time, but people in the controlled condition did not 2) People in the choices condition were noticeably more alert over time than were people in the controlled condition 3) People in the highlighted choices condition tended to live longer than people in the controlled condition  This is a manipulation that emphasizes choice; it improved people’s alertness, happiness and how long they lived.  This study doesn’t tie explicitly to stress, it gets us the link from perceived control to longevity.  Perceived control impacts a person’s response to life events - Having- or even just perceiving- control over at least part od the event can reduce how much stress it causes Expecting control in stressful situation reduces autonomic stress response Another study  Shock study  Truth: nobody had control over the shocks  They randomly assigned half of the participants to the condition that they had control over how long the shock lasted. They randomly assigned the other half to have the condition that they did not have control of the shocks, the reality. They measured their parasympathetic nervous system reaction and the people who perceived that they had control, had a lower spike in their autonomic nervous system reaction than the people who were in the no control condition. Sometimes just thinking that you have control can sometimes help calm your response to acute stressors.  Recognizing when you have control over events in your life and being aware; and airing on the side of assuming you do have control can help you while you’re coping  Recognizing you have control over situations in your life can reduce stress o Application…  Recognize when you have control is often ok to believe more control than reality  Break down stressor into controllable parts that you know how to control when you know that a stressor in your life is coming. Plan it out.  Be careful when choosing for others (especially in nursing home study)  Don’t make choices for someone else unless they ask you to. Don’t rob people out of their control in their environment, wait to ask to give advice 4. Social Support Social support is vital to well being in humans  Tend-and-befriend o Tend to offspring, tend to people around them, affiliate with others, cultivate friendships, connect with other people o If you’ve ever been stressed out and you just need to hug o Get protection and support from doing this o This is related to an oxytocin release  What is it about social support that helps us be well o Decrease heart rate o Emotional support  help identify own feelings o Offer resources to deal with it (fun activity to get mind off it; time can heal it or go spend some money) o Prevent depression openness o Misery loves company unity o Optimism thinking framing Social Facilitation of Wound healing  In stress and social isolation condition, the wounds grew bigger, increased release in cortisol during short- term stressful restraint  Seems to be related to oxytocin release o If given an oxytocin antagonist (it won’t let you release oxytocin), wound-size benefit of being paired is lost Social support can help us to behavioural processes like sticking to a exercise routine or can disrupt of our diet plans. Social support can help us with psychological processes like having some one help us take an optimistic stance, a reframing. Then can lead to biological processes with our immune function then that can lead use to death and disease depending is the social support is helpful or not. Not just one way that social support influences us there are many paths. -Give an example each of problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies, and explain how it exemplifies the strategy Coping with (relatively) acute stressors: it’s a matter of focus A) Problem-focused coping strategies - Break down the work into manageable parts - Create a schedule to help me get something useful done each day B) Emotion focused coping strategies - Do something to calm down like go for a run or meditate - Take mind off of work (e.g., watch a movie or hang out with friends) - Generate examples of the conditions under which problem-focused versus emotion-focused coping strategies would be most and least beneficial Problem-focused coping is best when the source of stress has a potential solution Critical difference: Is there a solution to the problem?  If yes… o And we have control over it problem-focused coping reduces stress and make progress toward getting rid of the problem  If no… o Or we think we (don’t think) have control over it then emotion-focused coping reduces stress and makes us feel better - When studying for exams, break down a schedule and plan it out instead of running and hiding because that exam will come anyways. Making progress into it; feeling more prepared is way to reduce this stress. Be careful with emotion-focused coping strategies; alcohol and drugs. - Example of a healthy emotion-focused strategy for dealing with a stressful situation is calling a supportive friend to vent about frustrations you’ve been having at work and an unhealthy example would be having a cigarette - List and explain four researched-based ways to reduce chronic stress levels 1. Exercise 2. Journal Writing 3. Relaxation/meditation 4. Spiritually/ faith 1. Exercise: Aerobic exercise reduces stress, increases health, mood  Mildly depressed people who didn’t know study was about depression  IV: Treatment Condition ◦ Relaxation training ◦ Aerobic exercise ◦ No treatment (control)  DV: depression score after 10 weeks  Review o Physically fit people: reduced stress responsivity  There is no specific formula for how much exercise o “Different psychological conditions respond differentially to alternative exercise regimens” o Exercise can have a bigger effect than relaxation treatment in any case 2. Journal Writing  Writing about stressors can improve well-being o Write for 30 mins for 3-5 days about your deepest thought and emotions or general issues or experiences. o What effects does this simple writing task have?  Fewer number of visits to the doctor, up to a year later  Improvements in long-term immunes functioning (e.g., natural killer cell activity)  Improved grade point average  Reduced absenteeism from work  Reemployment following job loss  Fewer self-reported physical symptoms of ill health  Reduced self-reported distress, negative emotion, and depression Week 19 Friday February 8, 2013 - Summarize research findings on how writing can reduce chronic stress Writing about worries before a test improves performance! - Writing about stressors can improve well-being. - When we are worried about something or an up coming performance, that takes up cognitive resources, we - only have so much space in our working memory, and if we are taking up space in that working memory and using it to deal with the anxiety about this up coming test that’s reducing the amount we have left to actually focus on the task. One thing that this writing task does is it reduces the load on our working memory. - Writing about your stressors actually helps you organize your thoughts. - Another benefit with writing about your stressors is it helps people make meaning of the stress that they have in their life. Derive a lesson about life from whatever is stressing them out. The idea that writing in a journal can help you solve your problems, there is data behind it. When writing, try and make meaning out of it and that will really help develop a coherence story. - But if you are just ruminating about it (saying this is a problem, this is a problem), and not making progress trying to resolve it Chapter 13: Social Psychology - Define social psychology  The scientific study of how people think about, influences, and relate to each other  Study of how people influence others’ behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes  The study of how people interact with their environments including real and imagined others, contexts and culture Deinviduation - When group influences are so strong that people lose self-awareness as individuals - Has two key ingredients; one is heighted arousal and a diffused sense of responsibility. A sense that you’re not going to get singled out and blamed. For better or for worse. Once we have those two key ingredients, these two key things combined make it more likely that we do things, positive or negative, that we wouldn’t have done if we weren’t alone Heighted arousal + diffused sense of responsibility Do things (+ and -) we would never do if alone. - List two lessons of social psychology and summarize research-based examples of each lesson Lesson #1 The situation has power. The context has power. We unaware of how powerful it is on our behaviour. Lesson #2 We like to be liked We are social animals  Links o Development, Health, coping, Happiness o Our connections with others matter  The “Need to Belong” o A motivation to bond with others in relationships that provide ongoing, positive interactions o Likely evolutionary roots  Sense that we can live longer if there is a team around us  This need drives people to affiliate, to commit, to remain together and to avoid living alone o Ostracism hurts  “Let’s just be friends”  We don’t like to break up, we don’t like affiliation, and we don’t like to disengage  For example: leaving a summer camp or at the end summer, you promise to keep in touch with someone because you have a sense to affiliate to. Rejection hurts  Being ignored and excluded… o Threatened fundamental needs of belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence o Increases sadness and anger o Activates brain regions associated with physical pain  Hurts even when o We’re paid money to be ostracized o Watching others be ostracized o It wasn’t intentional o When it’s coming from a despised outgroup, the KKK -Identify ways that you conform  Conform: Behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards: "the pressure to conform"  Most of us conform at least some of the time - When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other - When is conformity a bad thing? - When is conformity a good thing? - Describe Asch’s conformity paradigm and explain the key findings Soloman Asch’s Classic Line Studies (1955) Independent variable: Social context  Controlled condition: Alone  Experimental Condition: 7 others o All confederates who give the wrong answer  Experimenter: professor, suit, older man  Dependent variable: Answer Which line is correct? Aloud o Control: <1% wrong answer o Experimental: 37% wrong answer! What made this interesting?  Time of Gestalt Perception (everyone was asking about perception and no one was asking about did it matter if the social context is a facto)  No rewards for conforming  No apparent punishments for not conforming  People were visibly distressed and confused  But went along anyway! o Lesson #1: The situation is powerful! o Lesson #2: We like to be liked! - Distinguish between examples of normative and informational social influence We conform to what others are doing for different reasons Normative Social Influence  When we want to be liked o Avoid rejection o Gain approval  The reason why we go along with what others do is so we’re not rocking the boat and so other people like us  Normative social influence can also lead to conforming, going along with the group  We don’t have to change our belief about what’s true or not. We can go along for the sake of going along  Conform to fulfill others’ expectations o Gain acceptance or avoid rejection  Go along with crowd o Even when you don’t want to do what they’re doing Informational Social Influence  When we want to be right and that being right matters (we’re not sure what the right answer is or we especially trust the opinion of the people around us) and that’s why we go along  When we don’t know what else to do  Accept other people’s interpretation of reality  Think crowd knows more than I do  Occurs most often o Ambiguous situation o Crisis: NO TIME o Others are experts BOTH of those influences equals to the point that we want to go along with the norms others have set Joanna initially thought that “B” was the correct answer, but after hearing other people choose “A” she doubted her original guess and now truly believed that “A” was correct. This is an example of informational social influence - Her doubt turned into truly believing what the others were saying - Not sure turned into certainty, use information from others around us to justify answer - Both normative and informational social influence end up with going along with the norm but through different reasons. So when you’re looking at an example and you’re trying to figure out which is operating, you need to figure out whether it is avoiding rejection, kind of just go along with it, or it is using that information as information in order to make a judgment, in order to be right. Week 20 Wednesday February 13, 2013 - Describe why the bystander effect occurs Lesson #3 We like to be right - Out at a shopping center, a child is screaming while being dragged away by an adult. You can’t hear that she’s saying. What do you do? - How do you figure out it is an emergency? - Do you look at other people’s reaction? - If everyone is questioning himself or herself than it’s a problem for the situation. An example of how Information social influence can get us into trouble. - Why do people walk by? - Don’t want to get involved in a situation that doesn’t have to do with you - Don’t want to be blamed for the situation - Think someone else is better equipped to deal with it - Others around chose not to help so you think that they know something you don’t and you don’t need to help Consequences of conformity: To help or not to help? - By stander effect o When other people are around, the likelihood of any particular person helping tends to decrease o BUT WHY? Emergency Situation Decision-Making Situation At what stage the decision-making process would informational social influence have the biggest impact on likelihood of helping? - Interpreting the incident as an emergency (you’re most likely at this stage to look at other people and whether intentionally or not, you’re interpreting how they’re acting. EX. Are they acting freaked out or nervous?) -Generate examples of dispositional and situational attributions Why understand others’ behaviour by making attributions for it Dispositional attributions  Attribute action to personality or enduring beliefs  J shocked the other participant because J is a bad person Situational attributions  Attribute action to some aspect of the situation (more invisible)  J shocked the other participant because the experimenter pressured J - Describe and identify an example of the fundamental attribution error Fundamental attribution error: Tendency to overestimate influence of person’s disposition (internal) and underestimate influence of situation (external) when explaining their behaviour  Staged a quiz show  Randomly assigned to be a questioner, contestant, or the spectator o Equal intelligence  Questioner: write 10 challenging questions o E.g., which team won the Stanley Cup in 1968?  Contestants: attempted to answer questions o About 40% correctly  DV o Ratings of contestants’ Ratings of contestants’ and questioners’ “general knowledge” on a scale of 0-100 Spectators rated questioners above average and contestants below average in general knowledge (Iclicker) Fundamental attribution error Max sees Joe drinking beer, so max infers that Joe really enjoys beer (because Max is looking at someone else, Joe, making an inference about who Joe is based on what he is doing. He might be trying to look cool, normative social influence) James Lang- Tracy notices her hands clam up when she is around Bill, so Tracy infers she must like Bill. Based on an invisible factor- Rosie sees Sam cheat on a test, so Rosie infers Sam is under a lot of pressure from his parents. (Perceptual salient) When we’re focusing on just the physical person, then it makes it more likely that we’re make a dispositional attribution even if it is wrong. That is why it is easy to blame that bystander who walked away and didn’t help the stabbing victim as immoral because it is hard to see all of the contextually situational influences operating on the person, it is easier to blame that person as immoral. Why does the fundamental attribution error occur?  Perceptual salience o People easily noticed o Situation often invisible  Instead of making inferences about personality…  What aspect(s) of the situation could have influenced behaviour? -Describe the Milgram paradigm, key results, and critical factors that influenced how likely it was that people obeyed  Milgrams shock experiment  Purpose o To understand obedience to authority o Do only nasty people do nasty things o Power of situa
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