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Physiological Psychology: Selye's G.A.S Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

physiological psychology a. describe the main features of Selye's General Adaption Syndrome.Selye introduced the term stress in the 1950's with detailed studies of the physiological changes that take place over conditions of short term and long term stress, The research was based on various experiments tested on lab animals, mainly rats. Stressors, he argued all produced much the same reaction, at least the same general bodily response, he therefore defined stress as "˜ the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it "˜ (1956) "˜General' in the General Adaption Syndrome refers to his belief there is the same general bodily response to all stressors. "˜Adaption' refers to his view that the stress response enables organisms to adapt to stressors. "˜Syndrome' is a typical or characteristic combination of factors that make up the stress response. Within the G.A.S, there are three stages, the Alarm reaction, the Resistance Stage, and the Exhaustion Stage, these stages divide up the way a subject deals with stress as a bodily response, the first stage is an abrupt reaction to a stressor, an increase in arousal in the autonomic nervous system causes the adrenaline and noradrenaline within the body to be released, this increases the rate and strength of the heart. As a result, a reaction such as Cannons "˜fight or flight' response can occur. If the reaction to such incidents within this stage is too great however, they can be life threatening, the shock from the physiological changes can lead to a heart attack. The resistance stage of the G.A.S occurs when the stressor is not abrupt, but is persistent upon the subject, this stage occurs after alarm symptoms of the first stage disappear, giving the impression that the stressor has passed, however if new stressors are introduced, the subject may be at risk to bodily harm, as the body's immune system will not react as well if stressors remain. The Exhaustion stage of the G.A.S is brought upon when the stressor has been persistent on the subject throughout the previous two stages, and still remains, at this point the body's natural defence system cannot cope, the glands that previously released the adrenaline and noradrenaline no longer function properly, this can cause many health problems, such as the fall of blood sugar levels, exhausting the subjects resources, also the subjects blood pressure may rise in a permanent way, which can lead to psychomatic illness, caused by mental and emotional factors of the body.b. describe one research study into life events as a source of stress in contemporary life.A study by Frankenhaeuser (1978) investigated the effects of exams on students, in the study, students had their levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline measured and compiled into a graph over a period of 24 days, on day 16 of the study, the students took an exam. Results showed that there was a steady increase in the students levels of adrenaline and...

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