PSYC06 - Lecture 2, Chapters 4 & 5 – Methods of Psychophysiology
Basic Psychophysiological Constructs – Arousal, Habituation, Baseline
Arousal – Heightened activation of the autonomic nervous system in response to a stimulus.
The arousal will be specific to each physiological measure in the ANS. Arousal will be
specific to each stimulus that elicits it.
Stimulus-response specificity – The way each peripheral physiological response will
become aroused depends on specific features of the stimulus to which it is reacting.
Habituation – Decreased activation as a stimulus becomes less novel
Baseline – Tonic activity: the activity of a participant while they are at rest, with no
evocative stimulus. Nothing is more important in physio than a good baseline
Law of initial values – The degree to which a physiological response will change is a
function of its starting level of activation. Specifically, greater phasic change is exhibited
among lower tonic levels. This ‘law’ is not universal, but it is predominantly true.
Individual response stereotypy – Each person shows a unique, individual pattern of
responses to any given stimulus. This is an individual ‘stereotype’ because the individual
will show the same unique pattern to the same stimulus across time.
Homeostasis – It is equilibrium, stability, constancy. The mechanism that underlies the
homeostatic process is negative feedback, hoever it is not invariably a sign of negative
Basic procedure of a psychop