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A response of the whole organism involving (1) physiological arousal, (2) expressive behaviors, and (3) conscious experience.

James-Lange theory

The theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our physiological responses to emotion-arousing stimuli.

Cannon-Bard theory

The theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1) physiological responses and (2) the subjective experience of emotion.

Two-factor theory

the Schachter-Singer theory that to experience emotion one must (1) be physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal.


A machine, commonly used in attempts to detect lies, that measures several of the physiological responses accompanying emotion (such as perspiration and cardiovascular and breathing changes).

Facial feedback

The effect of facial expressions on experienced emotions, as when a facial expression of anger or happiness intensifies feelings of anger or happiness.


Emotional release. The catharsis hypothesis maintains that "releasing" aggressive energy (through action or fantasy) relieves aggressive urges.

Feel-good, do-good phenomenon

Peoples tendency to be helpful when already in a good mood.


Self-perceived happiness or satisfaction with life. Used along with measures of objective well-being (for example, physical and economic indicators) to evaluate people's quality of life.

Adaption-level phenomenon

Our tendency to form judgements (of sounds, of lights, of income) relative to a neutral level defined by our prior experience.

Relative deprivation

The perception that we are worse off relative to those with whom we compare ourselves.

Behavioral medicine

An interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral and medical knowledge and applies that knowledge to health and disease.

Health psychology

A sub field of psychology that provides psychology's contribution to behavioral medicine.


The process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging.

General Adaption Syndrome (GAS)

Selye's concept of the body's adaptive responses to stress in three phases - alarm, resistance, exhaustion.

Coronary heart disease

The clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading cause of death in North America.

Type A

Friedman and Rosenman's term for competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, and anger-prone people.

Type B

Friedman and Rosenman's term for easygoing, relaxed people.

Psychophysiological illness

Literally, "mind-body" illness; any stress-related physical illness, such as hypertension and some headaches.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

The study of how psychological, neural, and endocrine processes together affect the immune system and resulting health.


The two types of white blood cells that are part of the body's immune system: B lymphocytes form in the bone marrow and release antibodies that fight bacterial infections; T lymphocytes form in the thymus and other lymphatic tissue and attack cancer cells, viruses, and foreign substances.

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