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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Autonomic Nervous System, Heritability, Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Course Code
Elizabeth Page- Gould

of 7
Chapter 7
-meditation makes people less anxious, negative, and healthier
What is Neuroscience and How do we Study it?
-focus on the brain + nervous system
-central nervous system= brain + spinal cord
-peripheral nervous system= somatic nervous system (muscles) + autonomic nervous system
(smooth muscles, cardiac + glands)
-autonomic=sympathetic (fight or flight) + parasympathetic (replenishes body’s’ energy
-brain protected by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-> flows through ventricles
-Bodily Responses
-around arousing events-> autonomic nervous system
-galvanic skin response (GSR): measures sweat; measure of skin conductance- the
faster the current, the more moisture present from greater arousal
-electromyography (EMG): measures muscle activity; measures myoelectric activity,
estimates the electrical impulses of the muscles during contraction + relaxation
-Brain Structures
-some scientists looks for weight difference/cell # differences b/w different parts of the
-computerized tomography (CT): takes high resolution x-ray to detect abnormalities;
-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): radio frequencies are used instead of x-rays to take
-magnetic fields resonate atoms’ nuclei, radio frequencies detect these atoms,
and the pattern of the hydrogens’ resonance are detected
-Brain Activity
-measures of activity to detect differences in the brain-> often when working with a
mental task
-early studies used cortical stimulation
-electrode implants + electrical stimulation
-electroencephalogram (EEG): electrodes placed on scalp to measure electrical activity
of brain from a response to a stimulus
-evoked potential (EP): specific stimulus for an EEG
-positron emission tomography (PET): radioactive glucose substance with a short half-
life is injected into the brain + patient placed into a CT-like scanner; active regions of the
brain light up more than inactive regions (use up more glucose)
-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): same idea as original MRI, but brain
blood oxygen levels are monitored; more active areas use up more oxygen
-problem of response timing-> thoughts react within milliseconds versus blood
flow taking a couple of seconds
-therefore, hard to find exact area/moment of reaction
-problem of being expensive + time consuming
-nonindependance error: researchers unintentionally bias their results by not
independently selecting which brain areas to correlate with
eg) personality characteristics
-problem of time of day (tiredness) + nervousness can affect results
-transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): brief electrical current passes through a coil on
the head-> disrupts regular electron activity, either enhancing or impairing function;
researchers can pinpoint with great accuracy what function was disrupted
-mimics a brain lesion
-Biochemical Activity
-neurotransmitters: chemicals released by neurons to inhibit or excite the neuron
eg) norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin
-norepinephrine + epinephrine= stress hormones; increasing blood flow, etc
-norepinephrine linked to depression
-dopamine=feelings of pleasure; regulate movement, learning, attention, etc
-serotonin= mood regulation, arousal, sleeping, eating, pain, etc
-connected to depression, anxiety + other mood disorders
-anti-anxiety/depression medication act as another neurotransmitter
-blocking reuptake of a neurotransmitters
-challenge test: researchers give a drug known to either increase/decrease a
neurotransmitter’s function + monitor the impact
Neurological Theories of Personality
-temperament: set of personality characteristics
->relatively stable across the life span
->expressed through general energy level
->present from early childhood
-> similar in other species of animals
->present at birth
->determined by genetic factors
->changeable with maturation + experience
-all major personality types converge on 3 primary temperaments
-extraversion: +ve emotion, reward sensitivity, social rewards, sociability + approach
-neuroticism: -ve emotion, anxiety, punishment sensitivity, withdrawal
-impulsivity: psychoticism, lack of constraint, sensation seeking, novelty seeking, lack of
conscientiousness + lack of agreeableness
-Eysenck’s PEN Model
-discovery of extraversion, neuroticism + psychoticism= PEN
-overview of the three dimensions
-when high in this factor, people are sociable, optimistic + unreliable
-when low in this factor, people are quiet, introspective, reserved, reliable,
have few close friends
-when high in this factor, distressed, insecure, upset in many areas of lie;
chronically worried, nervous, moody, low opinion of themselves,
-when low in this factor, even-tempered, calm, relaxed, carefree,
unworried, unemotional
-when high in this factor, loner, egocentric, troublesome, manipulative,
impulsive, uncooperative, hostile, withdrawn + do not fit in
-when low in this factor, altruistic, socialized, empathetic, conventional
-the cross-cultural universality in these traits implies a biological component
-the 3 traits show a great consistency over time in one’s life despite environment
-the 3 traits have moderate heritability discovered
-neurology of extraversion
-main difference b/w introverts + extroverts= arousal differences
-introverts have greater cortical arousal than extraverts
-ascending reticular activating system (ARAS): cortical arousal; pathway
transmitting signals from limbic system + hypothalamus-> cortex
-introverts have an over-aroused baseline condition; they avoid conditions that
would engage their already over-stimulated condition
-extraverts let in too little stimulation so their under aroused state leads them
towards more stimulation
->no difference in arousal when sleeping
-neurology of neuroticism
-stability/instability of sympathetic nervous system
eg) hippocampus, amygdale, cingulum, septum, hypothalamus
-think of it like a smoke detector-> won’t respond to small events like burning
and only respond to the house on fire
->people high in neuroticism have very sensitive ‘smoke detectors’, therefore
more susceptible to negative emotions more easily
-Reinforcement Sensitive Theory (RST)
-personality is the variation in brain system functioning
->identifiy brain behaviour systems that had important differences among different
->link the systems to standard measures of personality
-overview of 3 neurological systems
-there are 3 brain-behavior system
-fight-flight freeze system (FFFS): associated with the emotion of fear +
responsible for our reactions to aversive stimuli
-fight or run from stimulus
->fearfulness + avoidance= phobias + panic disorders
-behavioural approach system (BAS): organizes reactions to “appetitive stimuli”=
enticing, pleasurable + rewarding stimuli
-BAS makes one more sensitive to reward
->optimism, impulsiveness + ‘anticipatory pleasure’= addictive
behaviours, high-risk impulsive behaviors + mania