Topic: Physiology/neuro

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Mammalian diving reflex

Medicine Physiology Scuba diving Physiology/neuro

The diving reflex, also known as the diving response and mammalian diving reflex, is a set of physiological responses to immersion that overrides the basic homeostatic reflexes, and is found in all air-breathing vertebrates studied to date. It optimizes respiration by preferentially distributing oxygen stores to the heart and brain, enabling submersion for an extended time.

The diving reflex is exhibited strongly in aquatic mammals, such as seals, otters, dolphins, and muskrats, and exists as a lesser response in other animals, including adult humans, babies up to 6 months old (see infant swimming), and diving birds, such as ducks and penguins.

The diving reflex is triggered specifically by chilling and wetting the nostrils and face while breath-holding, and is sustained via neural processing originating in the carotid chemoreceptors. The most noticeable effects are on the cardiovascular system, which displays peripheral vasoconstriction, slowed heart rate, redirection of blood to the vital organs to conserve oxygen, release of red blood cells stored in the spleen, and, in humans, heart rhythm irregularities. Although aquatic animals have evolved profound physiological adaptations to conserve oxygen during submersion, the apnea and its duration, bradycardia, vasoconstriction, and redistribution of cardiac output occur also in terrestrial animals as a neural response, but the effects are more profound in natural divers.

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Sleep and creativity

Physiology Physiology/neuro

The majority of studies on sleep creativity have shown that sleep can facilitate insightful behavior and flexible reasoning, and there are several hypotheses about the creative function of dreams. On the other hand, a few recent studies have supported a theory of creative insomnia, in which creativity is significantly correlated with sleep disturbance.

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Biology and political orientation

Biology Politics Psychology Neuroscience Genetics Physiology Physiology/neuro Evolutionary biology Conservatism

A number of studies have found that biology can be linked with political orientation. This means that biology is a possible factor in political orientation but may also mean that the ideology a person identifies with changes a person's ability to perform certain tasks. Many of the studies linking biology to politics remain controversial and unreplicated, although the overall body of evidence is growing.

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Amygdala hijack

Psychology Neuroscience Physiology Physiology/neuro

An amygdala hijack refers to a personal, emotional response that is immediate, overwhelming, and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat. The term was coined by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

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