Questions tagged [physiology]

For questions about the interaction of the brain/mind with function and structure of the rest of the body. If your question is specifically about the physiology of the central (or peripheral) nervous system then use the tag neurobiology.

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19
votes
5answers
227k views

Why do people laugh in serious situations?

I've seen people (including myself) that laugh for no apparent reason in really serious situations, such as in an argument or when receiving bad news. Although the other party is clearly very upset, ...
18
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3answers
668 views

Why does being in a natural environment induce some kind of “peace” state while mecha/tech ones induce the opposite?

Usually, natural environments (being out in "nature") tend to induce a happy and peaceful state, while mechanical and technological ones tend to induce stress and sadness. Why does this happen? Are ...
17
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2answers
17k views

Does anxiety produce adrenaline or does adrenaline make the person anxious?

Its obvious that both are related(adrenaline and anxiety) but which causes which? What (I think) I know: Anxiety accelerates the hearth rhythm due to the feeling of fear. It makes the body believe ...
15
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1answer
247 views

Do animals that sleep during the day have a different sleep architecture than those who sleep at night?

A typical hypnogram, delineating the sleep architecture for a (human) mammal looks like A distinct distribution of non-REM and REM sleep can be observed. Is this pattern of sleep cycles particular ...
13
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1answer
4k views

Are there recent theories on physiognomy?

What are recent theories on the relation between personality and facial or body shape, and are there studies to support them? See Wikipedia on physiognomy and somatotypes & constitutional ...
12
votes
1answer
179 views

Have there been any studies which report a positive correlation between eating certain foods and reported sleep disturbances?

This Skeptics question touched on the subject, but I'm more focused on studies that have been conducted under highly controlled circumstances, like a university sleep lab. We've all heard these old ...
12
votes
1answer
208 views

What is the mechanism behind unihemispheric sleep in animals?

It is known that dolphins have the ability to sleep with only one half of their brain at a time. According to this popular science source: Dolphins sleep by resting one half of their brain at a ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How are people able to wake themselves up after a pre-specified amount of time?

Auto-suggestion seems to work. Several people I know seem to be able to tell themselves "I'll wake up after 'N' hours/minutes", and do so within a minute or two of that duration. I thought for a ...
11
votes
1answer
144 views

How similar are human brains within the same haplogroup?

I've read about neuroscience and listen to talks like this one Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species, I'm starting to realize that humans are not all the same, and are instead quite ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Is there a correlation between facial features and personality?

Background: From block buster movies, to Snow White and the Seven Dwarf's, characters with certain personality and mental traits are portrayed looking a certain way. For example, the clumsy one has ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What is the effect of imagining doing an exercise on muscle growth?

I recently read a study by Yue, G et al. (1992) which I found incredibly interesting. I have no background in physiology and I was hoping that someone who does can clear things up. If I understood it ...
10
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1answer
242 views

What is it about the nature of slow-wave sleep that makes it difficult to awaken the sleeper?

In humans, delta wave sleep ("slow wave" sleep, stages III and IV by AASM criteria) is more common in children and becomes only a small percentage of total sleep time in adults. Cortical EEG waves ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Skin conductance responses to emotional stimuli

The skin conductance response (SCR) is said that cannot be reduced to one specific stimulus (Boucsein, 2012). Does this mean that if the participant is presented with stimuli of different emotional ...
9
votes
2answers
455 views

Does taking a deep breath reduce the experience of stress and negative emotions?

Sometimes when I have negative feelings, it seems that a deep breath resets these feelings. Does that really happen? Is there any research on the effect of taking a deep breath on reducing the ...
9
votes
1answer
883 views

How does body temperature and oxygenation affect thinking ability?

I'm interested if the brain works better when the temperature is higher than usual and the amount of oxygen in the air is a bit lower than in fresh mountain air. This has been my personal experience.
8
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2answers
7k views

Is Maslow's hierarchy of needs really accurate at labeling sex as a physiological “need”?

Is Maslow's hierarchy of needs really accurate at labeling sex as a physiological "need"? If so, would that mean that single/celibate people cannot live self-actualized lives unless they have some ...
8
votes
1answer
91 views

Is there any evidence to support a correlation between how much bodily energy you are using, and how quickly time appears to pass?

It seems to me that time passes more slowly when I am drinking coffee, but when I stop, or I am tired it seems that time passes a lot faster. Could this have something to do with the sampling rate at ...
8
votes
1answer
388 views

How effective are multiphasic sleep schedules?

Does multiphasic sleep work well enough that it can be used as a replacement for monophasic sleep? Has there been any research done on people that have used bi/polyphasic sleep for extended periods ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How does body temperature affect perception of time?

Does raising or lowering one's body temperature lead to different perceptions of time? And does this then control the virtual length of positive or negative emotions? For example, individuals might ...
8
votes
1answer
606 views

Why is it easier to fall asleep in the dark?

I'm curious if there is any neurological mechanism that explains why falling asleep is easier in the dark. I recognize that this isn't true universally -- a phobia of darkness might make it easier to ...
8
votes
1answer
773 views

How does fever affect time perception?

Many of my friends and I have noticed that at certain stages of fever, time is often perceived as being longer than usual. I'd like to know if this is caused by the disease itself, an immune reaction, ...
8
votes
1answer
151 views

Why does the tempo tend to get faster?

Suppose you're learning to sing or play an instrument, and you'd start playing some piece of music. If you are not experienced enough, the tempo would be unstable, usually getting faster until the end....
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Can scary movies trigger fight or flight and why can a person enjoy this while another does not?

Essentially, I understand the release of adrenaline can be addictive and that scary movies and events are a safe way of experiencing the drama without all the actual mess. but However, if we are ...
7
votes
2answers
980 views

The effect of proper food intake on emotions and brain function

Recently I wasn't eating at the proper time and I often skipped meals. I was angry, stressed before taking my meal, and suddenly, I felt good after having my dinner. I have felt the same way many ...
7
votes
1answer
213 views

What regulates the strength of motor signals?

I've seen cognitive and robot models where the input signals from the sensors are directly used as the signal for outgoing motor control. This doesn't make much sense, because obviously we're able ...
6
votes
1answer
16k views

Why does a stuffed up nose clear up momentarily when the person having it is startled or has an orgasm?

I have experienced this phenomena many, many times and I'm sure it's not only me. I guess the sudden rise in arousal opens up the nostrils in a kind of fight or flight response, but I'm interested in ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What causes gender differences in responses to farting?

Background: By casual observation, I have noticed that males tend to react differently to the sound of a fart. It seems that men are more likely to laugh whereas women are more likely to show signs of ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Heart rate monitor for scientific study

I want to measure heart rate as part of a controlled experiment I am setting up. I've been trying to find information on which heart rate monitor to buy, but it's unclear to me which heart rate ...
6
votes
1answer
309 views

What is the mechanism explaining the effect of a positive attitude on immune system functioning?

It seems likely that a positive attitude can speed up the healing process. but I can't decide by what mechanism it would operate by. Questions Does having a positive attitude improve immune system ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What keeps the cerebrospinal fluid circulating? Is it pumped by something?

What keeps the cerebrospinal fluid circulating? Is it pumped by something? This picture from wikipedia seems to indicate that it pulsates as though it is pumped:
6
votes
1answer
166 views

Is a more specific breathing technique better than just slow, deep breathing for calming oneself?

We're told by a Big Think Mind Hack video (carried by some tabloids) that 1:2 inhale:exhale breathing technique is better than just slow, deep breathing for calming yourself. Is there systematic ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between drug withdrawal and sleep deprivation effects?

Personal sleep-deprivation study: Recently, I posed a question that I'm sure many people find tough already: "Do I really need to sleep?", and so I tested myself, I spent two days without sleeping. ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Does looking into a mirror relieve eye strain in a similar way to looking at distant objects?

Sometimes when having an eye exam the eye chart is viewed through a mirror to increase the distance between the person and the chart. When using consoles, it is recommended to look away from the ...
5
votes
1answer
951 views

Can anxiety cause a heart attack, black-out or insanity?

David Burns in his self-help book about overcoming depression, anxiety and interpersonal problems called The Feeling Good Handbook¹ states: ...neurotic anxiety results from distorted thoughts that ...
5
votes
0answers
690 views

Is there a psychological basis for getting hiccups?

Is getting the hiccups sometimes related to our mental condition, i.e., stress level, etc?
4
votes
2answers
132 views

Can you get sad by sniffing onions, just like you can get happy by forcing yourself to smile?

I've read about a study where they found that people who were forced to keep a smile-like face were reportedly happier than those who were forced to stay in a frown-like a face. Similarly, could ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Does pain reduce cognitive abilities?

Does subjecting a person to pain reduce his cognitive abilities? If so, what is the process that reduces the ability? (By process, I mean the changes happening in the nervous system as a result of ...
4
votes
1answer
446 views

Why pale when we fear and red when we are angry

I find it hard to explain why we turn pale when we fear but red when we are angry. In both emotions adrenaline is released which if I am not mistaken cause vasoconstriction in vessels going to the ...
4
votes
1answer
517 views

Which personality traits are proved to correlate with any facial features?

I pretty certain I have read somewhere about certain personality traits that correlate with certain facial features, but I can't remember just what or where I read. I think the personality traits may ...
4
votes
0answers
69 views

Is there a relationship between the amount of time spent awake/asleep, and interstitial waste removal in the brain?

With regard to the glymphatic system, is here a relationship between: The amount of time spent awake and the amount of interstitial waste accumulated in the brain? The amount of time spent asleep and ...
4
votes
0answers
103 views

Physiological mapping of frustration

What physiological changes are seen in the brain when a person is experiencing frustration? What effects do these changes have on learning? Optional background: I'm trying to figure out an ...
4
votes
1answer
458 views

Can short-term hunger influence anger?

We know that hunger, whether short-lived or prolonged, causes physiological changes in our bodies. These may have psychological effects too as brain functions are slowed down and can have an impact on ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Is there a way that an infection could target a specific area of the brain?

My question is in regards to a fungal infection, but I am open to learning about viral or bacterial infections. That being said, is it possible that a fungus/virus/etc could target a specific area of ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Physiologically speaking is anxiety and adrenaline the same?

I am wondering from a physiological perspective what is anxiety. From my experience anxiety feels like muscle tension and lots of suppressed energy. For what I know the only thing that can make the ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between the neuroendocrine system vs endocrine system?

No one in the Biology site seems to be answering this, so I thought I'd post it here as a last resort. I would really appreciate if you guys can take a look at it. This is what I have understood so ...
3
votes
1answer
267 views

How does emotional stress cause skeletal muscle rigidity?

It is believed that when we are under stress our skeletal muscles tense up. However I am unable to explain why.Emotional stress is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system which has effects only ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Can signals from the prefrontal cortex alone trigger a readiness potential in the pre-supplementary motor area?

Background In Haggard, Patrick. "Human volition: towards a neuroscience of will." Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9.12 (2008): 934., the author states in the caption of Figure 1 (pg. 4): The ...
3
votes
0answers
26 views

What is the medullary bulb transition?

Does "medullary bulb transition" make sense in neuroanatomy internattionally or is it a Brazilian invention and there is no term like that in English? What is then the difference of the &...
3
votes
0answers
40 views

Does anyone have R code for analyzing skin conductance data?

Similar question here Open-source software for analyzing Electrodermal activity But with no R code answers provided, and the online EDA explorer appears to be unavailable now. I am looking for code ...
3
votes
0answers
677 views

What happens in the brain during mid-life crisis?

I was just told by an elder that midlife crisis occurs during an adult stage and it is a time whereby an adult starts having several thoughts concerning his/her life. After my research, I found out ...