Definition: Personality: The term â€˜personalityâ€™ is difficult to define, but a typical definition sees an individualâ€™s personality as their characteristic ways of behaving, thinking, feeling, reacting and perceiving the world. Personalities are often seen as relatively stable over time and based on this, psychologists have attempted to classify people into â€˜personality typesâ€™. These personality types may then be used to see if certain personality types are more susceptible to becoming stressed and, as a result, more likely to develop stress-related illnesses.
There are many scales used to measure stress. Some measures rely on individuals to report their own stress levels (e.g. self-report methods â€“ questionnaires etc..) whereas, other measures adopt a more objective approach. These are known as physiological measures.
Definition: Immune System: The bodyâ€™s main way of defending itself against millions of antigens (i.e. bacteria, viruses, toxins and parasites) that would otherwise invade it. None of these things are able to affect the body when the immune system is working effectively. The moment the immune system stops functioning properly, the body becomes at risk of infection and illness.
The stress response is important for survival in animals because the physiological changes associated with stress are essential in conditions of fight or flight (i.e. attacking or running away).
The role of endogenous pacemakers is to set the free-running internal rhythm. It is an internal biological â€˜clockâ€™ that allows organisms to control their internal rhythms and helps animals to anticipate cyclical events (e.g., the coming of night). These are innate. The SCN is the endogenous pacemaker that controls the circadian sleep/wake cycle. The SCN sends signals to the pineal gland, directing it to increase melatonin production at night. Melatonin induces sleep by inhibiting brain mechanisms that keep us awake. The SCN therefore maintains the link between light and melatonin production.
The brain is the main focus of neuroscience. Studying the brain gives us important insights into the underlying foundations of our behaviour and mental processes. A variety of methods are used by scientists in order to study the different areas and functions of the brain. Some involve scanning the living brain, looking for patterns of electrical activity associated with performance of particular tasks. Other methods involve studying sections of a deceased brain to investigate anatomical reasons for behaviour observed when the patient was alive.
Localisation of functions refers to the principle that specific functions (language, memory, hearing etcâ€¦) have specific locations within the brain.
Usually, the fight or flight response is something that individuals experience when they are stressed. Definition of Stress: â€œWhen an imbalance or discrepancy exists between perceived demands and perceived coping resources, then a state of stress exists.â€ Cox and Mackay (1978).
The Endocrine System has a series of glands which release chemicals (hormones) throughout the body and other bodily fluids. This communicates, much like the neurons do, messages to organs in the body. There are specialist glands in the body which form part of this system
â€¢ Initially, the electrical nerve impulse travels down the neuron and prompts the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain) at the presynaptic terminal.
â€¢ These chemicals are then released into the synaptic fluid of the synapse.
â€¢ The adjacent neuron must then quickly take up the neurotransmitter from the fluid and convert this into an electrical impulse to travel down the terminal to the next pre-synaptic terminal (allowing the impulse to be transmitted on).
â€¢ This process occurs at high speed.