• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Outline and evaluate research into the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms (16 marks, June 2011) Research into the causes of disruptions of biological rhythms, such as the sleep-wake cycle, have focused on the effects of shift work and jet lag. Researchers have found that disruptions in our sleep-wake cycle can result in both mental and physical health problems Jet Lag is also known as ?desynchronosis ?and it is defined as a temporary condition which is caused by travelling through several time zones within a short space of time. Symptoms of jet lag include tiredness, inability to sleep, nausea and indigestion. When we travel from east to west we gain time and this is phase delay. However when we travel from west to east we lose time and this is phase advance. Klein, Wegman, and Hunt?s (1972) ?Westbound flights? study found that it is easier to adjust our body clocks when travelling westwards due to phase delay. Recht et al?s (1995) ?Baseball? study found that teams travelling from the west coast to the east coast lost more games than teams travelling in the opposite direction of east to west. ...read more.


Rats have been found to have similar DNA to humans and many drugs have been tested on rats first before human trails therefore animal research may be reliable but there are still issues with how much we can extrapolate from animal research and to what degree it can be applied to humans. Research by Stewart and Amir is however supported by studies on flight attendants by Cho et al (2000) which found that regular, long-haul aircrew had raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed less well than control participants on memory tests. A follow-up study in 2001 showed that more experienced female aircrew did not do as well on reaction time and memory tests than less experienced aircrew; again indicating the negative effects of cortisol on the hippocampus. Although the studies by Cho et al support the stress, the studies do not identify what is causing the stress, whether it is the flying itself or the occupation. Also individual differences such as the predisposition to stress have not been accounted and it could be that the release of the stress hormone cortisol was a result of the anxiety of taking the tests. ...read more.


Czeisler et al are the main researchers into shit work and its effects. They conducted a study in 1982 on a group of shift workers following a backwards rotating shift system who had previously reported a range of health problems. They discovered that it takes about 16 days to adjust to a new shift pattern and so proposed that the shift rotation period be changed from 7 to 21 days. They recommended that shifts should rotate forwards in time (phase delay) taking advantage of the body?s natural preference for a slightly longer than 24 hour cycle. The results of the changes were significant as workers reported liking the new shift schedules and enjoying better health; they also made much more productive use of their leisure time when not working. The changes were also positive for employers since there was an increase in productivity and decrease in errors that led to accidents. Criticisms of this research by Czeisler et al is that the works may have improved in productivity due to social facilitation and may have been exhibiting demand characteristics as they may have felt pressure to work better whilst being observed. Thus the results of the study may not be completely valid. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss research into Biological Rhythms.

    3 star(s)

    He has to use stimulants and sedative to adjust his sleep/wake cycle to the standard 24 hours. This is in support of a endogenous pacemaker as the research shows that his innate biological rhythm was difficult to reset with the use of zeitgebers such as clocks and radios.

  2. Sleep and Biological Rhythms revision

    of sleep laboratory - lacks mundane realism, generability & ecological validity * Universality of sleep stages Basic Rest Activity Cycle (BRAC) * Verbal & spatial performance had a 96 minute cycle * Psych patients recorded to have 90 minute rhythm of eating / drinking * Ultradian cycle has to be

  1. Depression - Gender Differences.

    that other methods might produce. It is a matter of personal opinion which data collection method a psychologist might prefer for gender-related depression, based primarily upon how accurately that particular procedure produces the desired information.

  2. Discuss the Consequences of Disrupting Biological Rhythms - e.g. in Shiftwork and Jetlag

    This is even more unethical exploitation. Czeisler et al (1982) came up with the idea of a phase delay rotation pattern, whereby the shift pattern rotates every 21 days in a forwards direction.

  1. The Consequences of Disrupting Biological Rhythms. Essay Plan

    Therefore, this evidence shows that what was found in the lab experiments was true so it can be applied to real life cases. 5. Critical Point 3: There is another positive application for discovering about shift work and shift lag.

  2. Outline research studies into two forms of biological rhythms

    This can holds huge implications, as research has shown that in a workplace, shift work can lead to a reduction in productivity and job satisfaction, and a higher accident rate (Pinel, 1997)

  1. Describe and assess the consequences of disrupting biological rhythms

    gland tends to secrete small amounts of melatonin during the day and large amounts at night. The main exogenous zeitgeber ('time-giver') that controls circadian rhythms is therefore light. Research that suggests the SCN is the main endogenous factor for circadian rhythms comes from Morgan in 1995.

  2. Reticular Activating System.

    This is a lack of Object Permanence. Piaget claimed that the ability to maintain a mental representation of objects out of sight develops at around 8 months onwards. Bower believes that not demonstrating object permanence reflects difficulty with understanding concepts of location and movement, rather than immature object-concept.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work