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PSYB10 - Lec 11 (near verbatim) - Stress and Health.doc

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

PSYB10: Lec 11 Stress and Health (testable) STRESS: • Stress = broadly defined a response to a demanding situation (stressor) • Stressor can take many forms: psychological (final exams), physiological (all- nighters that body has to deal with • Psychological stress: the degree to which you have to change and adapt in order to respond to an event that requires you to change and readjust your life o Can be good or bad; anything that requires a change, even if the change is good; marriage, grad  one of the reasons is b/c your life is diff after this point o Death: change life and shows marked physiological impact on the body • Physiological stress: broad term of the # of ways the body responds to maintain homeostasis; when body comes out of normal routine to maintain normal functioning, it has to respond in nuanced ways  this response = physiological stress o Best way to maintain homeostasis balance is to constantly move around and constantly respond to the situation that is going on  maintain balance o Psychophysiology: allostasis concept  body’s ability to adapt to constantly changing environments to maintain homeostasis  Tight allostatic system: one that moves from high to levels of arousal flexibly and fluidly depending on demands; all for the purpose of adapting to new enviro  Allostatic load: when we become chronically stressed; when the body’s stress system is continually activated, when you don’t have time to recover in between stressors = creates load on body  where the system maintains a high level of physiological stress for long periods of time and the body is less able to adapt to new stressors in enviro  negative outcomes = heart disease, immune deficiency, type 2 diabetes, cancer etc; • Stress and Performance o Initially stress was defined as maladaptive response; now know that stress can be good or bad o Stress may even improve performance compared to normal abilities o Improve performance = challenge = good stress  Increase in heart rate; aroused  Beats with greater strength  Heart puts out more blood per beat and per minute; amount of blood (2-3L more) per minute  Blood has O2/glucose  needed for brain and muscles to perform at peak  Blood vessels = dilate = facilitates blood flow to brain and effector muscles  Perform better on cog and physical tasks o Inhibit performance = threat = bad stress  Increase in heart rate; aroused  May see an increase in heart contraction, but it’ll be mild or it won’t increase at all  Decrease in the amount of blood that you put out with each beat; goes down about 1-2L/min = much less efficient; normally heart puts out 5-6L/min  Constriction of bVs = impedes blood flow thru body, maintains blood in core  Decrease in cog and physical tasks o Only see challenge or threat in a situation where you’re motivated to perform well; test, talking in front of ppl  What makes you go one way or the other, how body physiologically responds (perceive challenge OR threat)?  Depends on how you appraise current situation; 1) practice makes perfect 2) what you expect is what you get  Your perceptions of the demands of the situation compared to your perceptions of the resources that you have to meet those demands;  Challenge: you feel that you have all the resources or more to do well in the situation; can meet every demand of situation  Threat: where you psychologically perceive that your resources are less than those that you would need to meet the demands of the situation  It really is about the appraisal; If you can somehow trick yourself into thinking that you have resources that you need, then your body will back you up in terms of blood flow to brain/muscles o Study (Threat and Challenge)  Complete verbal math task  Before math task, asked participants: How well can you cope with the upcoming task (resources question)? How threatening is the upcoming task (demands question)?  Challenge appraisal would be if ppl had said that they could cope with the demands of the situation (response to question 1 exceeded response to question 2); Threat appraisal if response to question 2 exceeded response to question 1  Ppl who had said they can cope with the situation (challenge) had increased levels of cardiac output; improved performance on test itself o Stress and Memory also looked at  Go into more extreme stress  Extreme stress = similar to socio-evaluative threat  When body in extreme state of stress (don’t see this activated in challenge) there is release of the catabolic stress hormone cortisol  Cortisol reduces working memory function in humans b/c constricts blood vessels in hippocampus  Long-term effects of cortisol: rats = decreased hippo mass due to the fact that cortisol restricts blood flow to the hippo  With THREAT, will also see cortisol release • Stress and Health o Stress and immunity  Psychological stress decreases immune functioning, temp and long- term, makes you more susceptible to disease  Study: • Healthy adults invited to stay in hotel • Completed measures of life stress (chronic level of psychological stress) • Exposed everybody to flu via nasal spray; ppl monitored for 7 days after exposure; check who will get sick and who doesn’t • Results: if ppl low on life stress, only 7/10 got the flu; if ppl high on stress, 9/10 got flu when directly exposed to it • This is acute illness  What about the effects of stress on long-term health? • Revisiting allostatic load; when your stress system is
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