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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health


Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Chapter 3: Profiles of Response Stereotypy and Specificity for Public Speaking State Anxiety


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Chapter 3

Profiles of Response Stereotypy and Specificity for Public Speaking State Anxiety

Chris R. Sawyer and Ralph R. Behnke

Credited with founding the modern discipline of psychophysiology, Albert F. Ax often used engineering metaphors to distinguish the functioning of the nervous system from workings of the mind. Ax likened human physiology, which he called soma, to the electronic circuitry of a vast computer while he compared the mind, or psyche, to the software or operating system running on it. Although he acknowledged that humans and computers differ in most respects he nonetheless argued that like computers, humans require a translator mechanism to account for how the mind and body interact to produce human experiences and emotions. Writing in the lead article for the first volume and issue of the journal Psychophysiology, Ax (1964) defines the general goal of the field as:

…the description of the systems in the organism which transfer information between the two collections of sub-systems generally referred to as psyche and soma. It is, of course, expected that present models of both psyche and soma are incomplete and in some respects erroneous, so that as the translator model develops, it will assist in the remodeling of both and, of course, be influenced by them. (p. 10) ← 55 | 56 →

During the five decades since Ax’s comments were published, the lack of concordance or integration among cognitive and physiological components of affective states (Calvo &...

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