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If we have biological rhythms, then is there some sort of biological clock ? In the brain, the hypothalamus, which lies above the pituitary gland, is a main center of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the tendency to maintain a balance, or optimal level, within a biological system.

The brain’s clock mechanism is located in an area of the hypothalamus known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)    . The axons of light-sensitive neurons in the retina provide information to the SCN based on the amount of light present, allowing this internal clock to be synchronized with the outside world (Klein, Moore,&Reppert, 1991; Welsh, Takahashi,&Kay, 2010) ( [link] ).

In this graphic, the outline of a person’s head facing left is situated to the right of a picture of the sun, which is labeled ”light” with an arrow pointing to a location in the brain where light input is processed. Inside the head is an illustration of a brain with the following parts’ locations identified: Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, Pineal gland, and Output rhythms: Physiology and Behavior.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) serves as the brain’s clock mechanism. The clock sets itself with light information received through projections from the retina.

Problems with circadian rhythms

Generally, and for most people, our circadian cycles are aligned with the outside world. For example, most people sleep during the night and are awake during the day. One important regulator of sleep-wake cycles is the hormone melatonin    . The pineal gland    , an endocrine structure located inside the brain that releases melatonin, is thought to be involved in the regulation of various biological rhythms and of the immune system during sleep (Hardeland, Pandi-Perumal,&Cardinali, 2006). Melatonin release is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light.

There are individual differences with regards to our sleep-wake cycle. For instance, some people would say they are morning people, while others would consider themselves to be night owls. These individual differences in circadian patterns of activity are known as a person’s chronotype, and research demonstrates that morning larks and night owls differ with regard to sleep regulation (Taillard, Philip, Coste, Sagaspe,&Bioulac, 2003). Sleep regulation refers to the brain’s control of switching between sleep and wakefulness as well as coordinating this cycle with the outside world.

Disruptions of normal sleep

Whether lark, owl, or somewhere in between, there are situations in which a person’s circadian clock gets out of synchrony with the external environment. One way that this happens involves traveling across multiple time zones. When we do this, we often experience jet lag. Jet lag is a collection of symptoms that results from the mismatch between our internal circadian cycles and our environment. These symptoms include fatigue, sluggishness, irritability, and insomnia    (i.e., a consistent difficulty in falling or staying asleep for at least three nights a week over a month’s time) (Roth, 2007).

Individuals who do rotating shift work are also likely to experience disruptions in circadian cycles. Rotating shift work refers to a work schedule that changes from early to late on a daily or weekly basis. For example, a person may work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, 3:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. In such instances, the individual’s schedule changes so frequently that it becomes difficult for a normal circadian rhythm to be maintained. This often results in sleeping problems, and it can lead to signs of depression and anxiety. These kinds of schedules are common for individuals working in health care professions and service industries, and they are associated with persistent feelings of exhaustion and agitation that can make someone more prone to making mistakes on the job (Gold et al., 1992; Presser, 1995).

Questions & Answers

I am taking this course because I am hoping that I could somehow learn more about my chosen field of interest and due to the fact that being a PsyD really ignites my passion as an individual the more I hope to learn about developing and literally explore the complexity of my critical thinking skills
Zyryn Reply
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Jonathan
and having a good philosophy of the world is like a sandwich and a peanut butter 👍
Jonathan
generally amnesi how long yrs memory loss
Kelu Reply
interpersonal relationships
Abdulfatai Reply
What would be the best educational aid(s) for gifted kids/savants?
Heidi Reply
treat them normal, if they want help then give them. that will make everyone happy
Saurabh
What are the treatment for autism?
Magret Reply
hello. autism is a umbrella term. autistic kids have different disorder overlapping. for example. a kid may show symptoms of ADHD and also learning disabilities. before treatment please make sure the kid doesn't have physical disabilities like hearing..vision..speech problem. sometimes these
Jharna
continue.. sometimes due to these physical problems..the diagnosis may be misdiagnosed. treatment for autism. well it depends on the severity. since autistic kids have problems in communicating and adopting to the environment.. it's best to expose the child in situations where the child
Jharna
child interact with other kids under doc supervision. play therapy. speech therapy. Engaging in different activities that activate most parts of the brain.. like drawing..painting. matching color board game. string and beads game. the more you interact with the child the more effective
Jharna
results you'll get.. please consult a therapist to know what suits best on your child. and last as a parent. I know sometimes it's overwhelming to guide a special kid. but trust the process and be strong and patient as a parent.
Jharna
what is learning? discuss how any three scholars propounded on how learning is
Grace Reply
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I want talk about Psychology
Dharma
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Roda
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Angela
Where can I find a standardized questionnaire for my research entitled Social media and it's relation to social behavior?
Geo
anyone?
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is this effective as a treatment generally?
RebeccaBeki Reply
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Dr
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Dharma
Discuss the historical development of intelligence testing.
Surey Reply
Maybe it's more important to study different fields because there could be a link between them all.
Heidi Reply
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Shagufta
Discuss the historical development of intelligence testing.
Surey
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Francis Reply
How do you deal with a person who is a narcissist?
Michelle Reply
Avoid contact with them or try Grey Rock method. ofc don't let them feel they r being ignored otherwise its gna get lot worse.
James
1. Learning about how the mind works (interpreting our thoughts/logic/reasoning) can be applied to philosophy; 2. Learnsing the anatomy & physiology of our brain & body can be applied to biology; 3. Studying a person's behavior & their social interactions with other people correlates with sociology.
Emelda Reply
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Dr
*Our* own individual perceptions of how things work will only be *our* truth unless convinced otherwise by evidence from outside resources.
Heidi Reply
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Antwi Reply
psychology is a systematic study about human brain,mind, thinking pattern, and cognition.
Grashela
psychology is the scientific study of behaviour of it's mental processes.
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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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