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Lecture 4

PSY240H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Agoraphobia, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Course Code
Hywel Morgan

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PSY240 –February 1, 2013
- 20% lifetime chance of developing a psychopathology that interferes with daily functioning, including social problems with
- The most prevalent of psychological problems is anxiety; 20% of the population will experience an anxiety disorder
- Anxiety is distinguished from an anxiety disorder
- Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing
- Anxiety is normal, not abnormal; it is a basic emotion that is functional
- Emotions help us adapt to the changing world
- There is an intimate relationship between emotions and motivation
- Emotions can change priority of task and motivations effect emotions
- It becomes maladaptive/dysfunctional when the level of anxiety exceeds your ability to adapt to that particular environment
- Anxiety disorder is when your anxiety becomes dysfunctional
- All emotions are adaptive; see them across all cultures so they seem to be hardwired
oHappy, sad, anxious, fear, disgust, angry, surprise
oHappy signals approach; disgust signals avoid
- Helps us learn and adapt to changes in our environment
- Too many of these basic emotions is pathological
- What is anxiety?
oAnxiety is an unpleasant emotional state ranging from mild unease to intense fear
oA certain amount of anxiety, however, is normal and serves to improve performance
oAnxiety rouses toy to action
oIt gears you up to face a threatening situation
oIt helps you cope
- Unpleasant does not necessarily mean bad, because it is helping us adapt to our environment
- There is also a difference between anxiety and fear, though they are closely related
- It is impossible to avoid anxiety, and you shouldn’t; there should always be a certain amount of anxiety in your life
- Measuring anxiety is extremely important determines when something is pathological
- Pathology one standard deviation from the norm
- If you are outside of the 2/3 of people who normally score on a particular test of pathology, you would be considered statistically
- Have to come up with some type of measurement for anxiety
- Anxiety can be conceptualized as having three components
oFirst, there is a Psychophysiological component which features symptoms such as palpitations and sweating
Startle response is hardwired; all mammals have a genetically pre-programmed startle response
Wide eyed, attention focused to stimulus; beginning of the anxiety reaction
Increased heart rate, perspiration, respiration, pupil dilation
Fight or flight
Stimulus could be a potential threat
Part of the nervous system autonomic division
oSympathetic can be measured objectively (physiological measure increase in
Flight is the preferable response in most mammals; fight is only adaptive when cornered
Rodents do not have a fight or flight response; they either fight or freeze
Magnocellular and parvocellular divisions in visual system respond to shape and movement
Rodent’s visual system is wired to movement, so their adaptive response is to freeze
Cortex is asking, “what is going on?” conscious question
Even before cortex asks this question, you are reacting
Reflexive actions occur at the brain stem/spinal cord
Can measure how sweaty you are (Galvanic skin response, [GSR]), what your respiration rate is, and what your
heart rate is all objective measures of physiological response
Same theory behind lie detector test as GSR physiological aspect is somewhat involuntary but…
You can train yourself to not have physiological reactions to aversive stimuli e.g. meditation
Do have some control over the autonomic nervous system
And anxious reaction has a psychophysiological component
Different to distinguish emotions psychophysiologically though e.g. delight and anxiety show similar
physiological reactions
This is a gross measurement of anxiety
Anxiety stimulates the sympathetic division of your autonomic system; adaptive response
Objective but not specific
oSecondly, there is a psychological component characterized by irritability, lack of concentration and feeling of fear
The most common measure of anxiety
Measure psychological components using a scale and asking patient to rate their feelings self report
Most common method of measuring anxiety because it is easy
Likert scale (interval scale incremental numbers on a scale)
However, there is a lot of subjectivity in self-report; this is a source of error
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