Assess the Impact of Disrupting Bodily Rhythms in Humans.

There are three types of bodily rhythm suggested by psychologists; the Circadian rhythm, the Infradian rhythm and the Ultradian rhythm.A Circadian rhythm is a rhythm which repeats itself every 24 hours, whilst, the Infradian and Ultradian rhythms last longer and shorter than 24 hours (respectively).There are two factors that are capable of disrupting the bodily rhythms of humans.Thefirst being Endogenous pacemakers, which are internal aspects that may upset the rhythms, and the second being Exogenous zeitgebers, which are internal aspects of the environment which may upset a rhythm, e.g. light, temperature etc.

The sleep/wake cycle is an example of a Circadian rhythm, as it is repeated every 24 hours.Psychologists have attempted to investigate the roles of Endogenous Pacemakers in the sleep/wake cycle by removing all external factors.To do so Siffre (1975) lived in a cave for seven months, recordinghis bodily functions while he was awake and lights were turned off when he fell asleep.Eventually Siffre's sleep/wake cycle settled on a 25-30 hour day, so that when he came out on the 179th day he believed it was the 151st, and had lost 28 days.This supports the idea that the sleep/wake cycle will continue in the absence of light/dark cues, and also shows that this cycle moves toward 25 hours.However, although the study seems useful, and the findings supported by other studies, these studies have been conducted on individuals, and the data is therefore unrepresentative and cannot be generalised to the population as a whole.Further more there are individual differences in peoples cycles which this study did not take into account.Isolation studies, do however show humans possess a mechanism which acts as an internal clock –which subsequent research has shown to be located in the hypothalamus.In this case the disruption of the bodily rhythm was not detrimental, however the study focused on only one cycle…

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