Biopsych Cold Pressor

Topics: Pain, Gender, Sex Pages: 10 (3488 words) Published: March 27, 2013
Physiology of Behaviour; Sex differences in physiological responses of the cold pressor test.

This lab report aims to analyse the sex differences in a physiological responses to a potentially aversive physiological stress inducing stimuli. This was conducted by a cold pressor test. 8 males and 8 females participated. Heart rate, respiration rate, and galvanic skin was recorded whilst participants undertook the CPT test. Results showed no significant differences that there is a gender difference in experimental induced stimuli of pain. Introduction

To say that male and females are biologically and physiologically the same is denying physical reality’s differentiation takes place immediately as the male or female begins to develop within the womb. The sex hormones --primarily oestrogen and testosterone--have a significant impact on the behaviour of males and females. Why do boys typically like to play with trucks and girls like to play with dolls? Feminists usually claim this is the result of socialization, but there is growing scientific evidence that boys and girls are greatly influenced by their respective hormones. Within biological psychology the biology and physiological differences are studied thoroughly between male and female. In biological psychology, physiological pain has been studied frequently. Furthering this, the differences between male and female pain response and threshold for pain have been measured in several experiments. Pain is often described as an uncomfortable response to unpleasant stimuli. Different physiological responses take place when pain is perceived. The International Association for the Study of Pain's widely used definition states: "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".(Bonica,1979) Pain motivates the individual to remove themselves from these unpleasant stimuli or situations, to protect the body. Pain is a part of the body’s defence system. Humans attempt to avoid similar painful and unpleasant experiences in the future.(Lynn,1984)Most pain resolves promptly once the painful stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but sometimes pain persists despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body; and sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease.(Raj,2007) People report a pain threshold and a pain tolerance. The pain threshold is the point at which sensation becomes pain, where as Pain tolerance is the amount of pain a person can handle without breaking down, either physically or emotionally. Men and women have reported over several studies different measures of pain threshold and pain tolerance in this following study I aim to review the literature between the sex differences of men and women in line with pain tolerance and pain threshold. .Previous tests for pain threshold and tolerance that have been used are the electric shock test, tooth pulp stimulation, and tourniquet induced scheme (von Baeyer, 2007.) The pain experiment that will be used in this lab report is the cold pressor test. The cold pressor test is a cardiovascular test performed by immersing the hand into an ice water container, usually for one minute, and measuring changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Its response is clinically indicative concerning vascular response and pulse excitability. The cold pressor test has been used for several years as a means of measuring experimentally induced pain. The cold pressor test is a preferred method to experimentally induce pain. Even though inducing pain seems unethical, as it is a necessity for psychological research, this method is preferred. It does not cause any psychology damage, it does not cause any damage to tissue or limbs, and minimum means of stimulation is used in comparison to other experimental induced pain methods. Methodology needs to be clear and concise for carrying out the cold...
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