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PSYC18H3 (275)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC18H3
Professor
Michelle Hilscher
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter 5The autonomic nervous system Neural signals from the cortex communicate with the limbic system and the hypothalas these brain regions send signals through cluster of neurons of the autonomic nervous system to the target organs glands muscles and the blood vessels the autonomic nervous systems most general function is to maintain the internal condition of the body to enable adaptive response to varying environmental events the Parasympathetic branch helps with restorative processes reducing heart rate and blood pressure and increasing digestive processes The parasympathetic autonomic nervous system incorporates nerves that originate in two different parts of the spinal cord the vagus nerve at the top of the spinal cord and the sacral region near the bottom of the spinal cord The parasympathetic system decreases heart rate and blood pressure in a few places it facilitates blood flow by dilating certain arteries It increase blood flow to erectile tissue in the penis and clitoris and thus is essential to the sexual response It increases digestive process by moving digested food through the gastrointestinal tract The parasympathetic also constricts the pupil and bronchioles the sympatheticbranch increases heart rate blood pressure and cardiac outputand shuts down digestive processes to help the individual to engage in physically demanding actions the sympathetic system leads to the contraction of the piloerector muscles that surround the hairs on the arms neck and back which helps with thermoregulation and may be part of certain emotional responses that involve goose bumps the sympathetic help prepare the body for flight or flight responses psychologists measure the activity of the autonomic nervous system in several ways heart rate galvanic skin response vasoconstriction in the arteries and veins blood flow to different parts of body finger and facial temperatureTwo kinds of potential support for Jamess clams regarding autonomic specifity and emotion There are over a dozen distinct autonomic pathways that activate different regions of the body so different emotions could potentially be involved with distinct pathways in the autonomic nervous system One can imagine many different ways in which components of the autonomic system could combine which such patterns could plausibly account for the diversity of emotional experience
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