Stress is something that seems to be an inevitable part of the modern world where deadlines direct us, changes challenge us, and the unexpected unnerves us. Here is a chance to learn what we can do to prevent or at least ease stress. As you think about your discussion post, think about the following:
What factors lead to the experience of stress?
On what would they agree or disagree?
By the end of this discussion, you will be able to:
Discuss the role of appraisal in the way we respond to stressful events and describe the biology of the fight-or-flight< /span response as well as the physical characteristics and phases of the general adaptation syndrome.
Define psycho-physiological illness, and describe the effect of stress on immune system functioning, and coronary heart disease
Identify ways people cope with stress, and describe how a perceived lack of control can affect health.
Complete the following:
Identify a major stressor in your life. Please choose one that you are comfortable sharing with the class. If others are involved, please disguise their identities to protect their privacy. Describe the stressful situation and explain how it affects you. You should discuss as many of the following as possible: Emotions, self-esteem, relationships, work performance, health. Create a realistic and practical step-by-step strategy for coping with this stressful situation. Using information from your readings, explain why that strategy should be effective.
Added on 15.06.2016 18:01
Sensation and Perception
As we learned earlier in the course, our brain is composed of neurons and information going to and from our brain is in the form of action potentials. Our brain”s neurons do not see light or hear sound or smell odors. Our brain”s neurons recognize certain patterns of action potentials coming from certain neurons as the red glow of a stop sign or the “moo” of a cow or the smell of pizza. We have specialized nerve cells called receptors that convert different types of energy in our environment into action potential codes that can be interpreted by our brain. In the retinas of our eyes we have photoreceptors that respond to light and convert light energy into action potentials that are sent to the occipital lobe of the brain.[Fig 1. Eye] Do you remember where that is? [Image of Brain] In our inner ears we have auditory receptors that are sensitive to vibrations between 20 and 20000 cycles per second and convert those vibrations into action potentials that are sent to the temporal lobes of the brain.[Fig 3. Ear] Where are the temporal lobes? In our nose we have olfactory receptors that collect chemicals in the air and send action potentials to the olfactory bulbs under the frontal lobes of the brain. [Fig 4. Nose]
Sensation is the process by which we detect physical energy from our environment and encode it as neural signals. Perception is the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events. The task of each sense is to receive stimulus energy, transform it into neural signals, and send those neural messages to the brain.
In organizing sensory data into whole perceptions, our first task is to discriminate figure from ground. Open the picture with this link [Fig 5. Old Folks] and list the different objects you can distinguish. For example, do you see the vase? the guitarist? the bottle? Put the number of different figures you find on the bottom of your first discussion post When is an object the figure and when is it the ground or background?
We then organize the figure into meaningful form by following certain rules for grouping stimuli. We transform two dimensional retinal images into three dimensional perceptions by using binocular cues, such as retinal disparity, and monocular cues, such as the relative sizes of objects [Image Relative Size]. What cues do you think you use to determine that the mountain road is stretching away down the valley? For example, objects in the distance are smaller. There is less texture detail visible. Any others? In perceiving motion, we assume that shrinking objects are moving away from us and growing objects are moving toward us. The perceptual constancies enable us to perceive objects as enduring in shape, size, lightness, and color, regardless of viewing angle, distance, and illumination. The constancies explain several well known illusions.
Studies of sensory deprivation reveal that, for many species, infancy is a critical period during which experience must activate the brain”s innate visual mechanisms.
For example, when cataracts are removed from adults who have been blind from birth, these persons can distinguish figure and ground and can perceive color but are unable to distinguish shapes and forms.
At the same time, human vision is remarkably adaptable. Given glasses that turn the world upside down, people manage to adapt and move about with ease. Clear evidence that perception is influenced by our experience comes from the many demonstrations of perceptual set and context effects.
Because perceptions vary, they may not be what the designer of a machine assumes. Human factors psychologists study how people perceive and use machines and how machines and physical environments can be better suited to their use. Although parapsychologists have tried to document ESP, most research psychologists remain skeptical, particularly because the results of experiments have not been reproducible.
Emotions, Stress and Health
Emotions are psychological responses that involve an interplay among (1) physiological arousal, (2) expressive behavior and (3) conscious experience. James and Lange argued that we feel emotion after we notice our bodily responses. Cannon and Bard contended that we feel emotion when our body responds. Schachter and Singer”s two factor theory states that to experience emotion, we must be aroused and cognitively label the emotion.
Although the physical arousal that occurs with the different emotions is for the most part indistinguishable, researchers have discovered subtle differences in brain circuits, finger temperatures, and hormones. In using physiological indicators to detect lies, the polygraph does better than chance but not nearly well enough to justify its widespread use.
Some emotional responses are immediate, as sensory input bypasses the cortex, triggering a rapid reaction outside our conscious awareness. Others, especially responses to complex emotions, require interpretation. We decipher people”s emotions by “reading” their bodies, voices and faces. Although some gestures are culturally determined, facial expressions, such as those of happiness and fear, are universal. Facial expressions not only communicate emotion but also amplify the felt emotion.
Carroll Izard has identified 10 basic emotions, most of which are present in infancy. This chapter examines three human emotions in detail: fear, anger and happiness. Although we seem biologiclly predisposed to acquire some fears, what we learn through experience best explains the variety of human fears. Anger is most often aroused by frustrating or insulting acts that seem willful, unjustified and avoidable. Expressing anger may be temporarily calming, but in the long run, it can actually arouse more anger. Happiness boosts people”s perceptions of the world and their willingness to help others. However, even significant good events seldom increase happiness for long, a fact explained by the adaptation level and relative deprivation principles.
Exposure to prolonged stress can increase our susceptibility to serious illness. Health psychology provides psychology”s contribution to behavioral medic
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