Psychosomatic Processes

Test 1 -- February 10, 1997


Please write your name on the BACK of the exam (not on the front).  Please watch your time.


1.  You accidentally drop a can of soup on your toe.  Describe in detail what happens in your nervous system from the millisecond when the falling can makes contact with your skin until you limp to class the following day.  Discuss the nature of neurons, synaptic transmission, brain activity, and autonomic activity.  (10 points)




Answer 8 of the following 9 questions.  Five points each.


2.  According to Taylor, what are some of the economic forces affecting health psychology.  How might this affect the future of the field?  Other than university teaching, where will future health psychologists find jobs?


3.  What is Sapolsky’s theory of aging?  Does it make sense given your knowledge of the hippocampus?  Why or why not?  How could you use his theory to slow down the aging process?



4.  Why is social class so powerfully related to physical health?  Why do you think class is more related to heart disease than to cancer?  Draw on your knowledge of social class research as well as physiology.



5.  What are the basic findings concerning the Wada test and the recall of emotional experiences?  How are these results relevant to our understanding of repression and the facial expression of emotion?


6.  What is the “happy button” referred to in the Heath paper (dealing with the electrical self-stimulation of the brain)?  How do you think people engage this happy button in real life?  Can triggering this brain location in a natural way be used in the treatment of stress or traumatic experience?  If yes, how?



7.  How is immunology’s self-concept similar to psychology’s self-concept?  Draw on your knowledge of teleological coherence, memory, and boundaries in your answer.



8.  Are college freshmen most likely to get sick in the middle of their first semester, during final exams, or once they return home after final exams?  Justify your answer by drawing on the work of Sapolsky and your knowledge of the immune system and glucocorticoids.


9.  According to Eisenberg and his colleagues, how common is the use of unconventional therapies for health problems?  What therapies and what health problems do people see unconventional therapists for?  Explain.



10.  Distinguish between Individual Response Specificity (IRS) and Stimulus Response Specificity (SRS)? What are the implications of these two types of specificity for understanding psychosomatic disorders?  How would you classify each of the following writers in supporting SRS vs IRS:  Sapolsky, Taylor, Booth (teleological coherence paper), Pavlov, and Freud?