PSYC1110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Cortisol, Maternal Sensitivity, Hypothalamus

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7 Oct 2015
Psychology September 10 Lecture 4
Temperament: a set of feelings/behaviors that originate in biology and appear early in
development. Has a biological basis because they show up so early in life.
Is there a relationship between infant responses and adulthood responses?
Case Study: studying shyness in infants
- Outgoing: responds positively to novelty. Less afraid, almost non-responsive to new
- Shy: responds negatively to novelty. More afraid, visually upset.
Fight or flight is different for every person. As shown in the case study, it has a biological basis
as it is a temperament. However, environmental conditions have an effect on the temperament of
the child later in life.
- Positive mothers can make their child more outgoing if they showed signs of shyness
as an infant. Shy infants are more influenced by their mother than outgoing children.
- Fight or flight response is useful to survive, but chronic stress is toxic
- Testing stress in rats:
oRat pups with more attentive moms (moms who licked them) were able to
cope with stress better than rat pups with inattentive moms.
- Hypothalamus  CRH  Pituitary Gland  ACTH  Adrenal Glands  Cortisol
- An increase in stress hormone receptors leads to a more effective adaptation to stress.
In the rat case study, the rat pups with more attentive moms had more stress hormone
receptors than those with inattentive moms.
Temperament Summary
- Temperament appears early on in life, suggesting that it is biologically based
- Shyness
oExperiential influences
oMaternal care
- Temperament is more malleable i.e. one can act bold without actually feeling bold
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