The Mountain Lion
After each of thenumbered sections of the story answer the question in bold.
In answering each question you will:
Choose and identify 3 psychobiological factors that were in operation, and
Explain how the psychobiological factors were involved (The factor was doing…what?).
There will be three answers for each section, a total of 12 (3X4) answers for the assignment.
The fifth section is EXTRA CREDIT. There will be no mark-down for weak or wrong responses.
Select items related to psychobiological processes (items) from the list in the box below.
You may use an item from the list once only.
| Acetylcholine |
Afferent and Efferent neurons Amygdala
Antagonist (Specify which) Antagonistic Neurotransmitter (Specify which)
Brightness constancy Cerebral cortex
Endocrine system (Which hormone)
Excitatory neurotransmitters (Specify which) Figure ground
Gate control theory
Hormones (Provide example) Hypothalamus
| Just Noticeable Difference |
Left side of brain
Parasympathetic nervous system Parietal lobe
Right side of brain
Sensory transduction Serotonin
Sound localization Sympathetic nervous system
Synaptic transmission Synaptic vesicles Temporal lobe Thalamus Vestibular sense
1. A man is jogging in Estes Park, Colorado. A mountain lion starts to track him. The man senses something behind him, looks back, and sees the mountain lion. The jogger springs into action and starts running as fast as he can go. He runs to a tree and climbs up.
Name and describe 4 psychobiological factors that may be operating in this situation. Explain what each is doing.
2. The mountain lion stands up against the tree growling ferociously and roaring, while trying to swat the jogger with its powerful paws.
The jogger is desperately afraid. He reaches for a nearby branch, breaks it off, and tries to hit the mountain lion. He is trying to keep it from climbing up the tree. He swings the branch, occasionally hitting a paw or a leg, and screams curses at the mountain lion. The jogger does not notice that the temperature is dropping. The lion continues its attempts to reach the jogger. The man looks down at the lion as it roars, revealing long, wicked looking, cat’s teeth.
Name and describe 4 psychobiological processes that the jogger is experiencing.
3. The jogger’s wife, knowing how long his run should take, realizes that her husband is late. She becomes increasingly upset and worried. After an hour, she can’t wait any longer, calls the sheriff, and explains her concern. She can’t leave the house because there is an infant. Her hands are shaking as she tells the sheriff her husband’s favorite jogging route.
How would you explain in psychobiological terms what the jogger’s wife has been experiencing?
4. The sheriff follows the jogging route and arrives at the scene. He sees the Mt. Lion standing up against the tree below the jogger. He immediately understands what is going on. He quickly pulls his riffle from the bracket in his Jeep, aims instinctively, and fires, killing the mountain lion. The grateful jogger climbs down. The sheriff wraps a blanket around him and drives him home.
On the ride back to his house, the jogger feels his body calming down as he distances himself to the extent he can from the extreme physical and mental ordeal. As they approach the jogger’s house, he realizes for the first time that it is very cold outside, and he is wearing only shorts and a tee shirt.
Shortly after arriving home, he falls asleep on the couch while looking at his baby.
Describe three psychobiological processes that could be in effect for the jogger after the Mt. Lion has been killed and he has left the tree.
Answer these questions. You have nothing to lose!
5. The next day the jogger and his wife return to the scene of the fearful experience. He has told his wife about how he broke off the dead branch and tried to defend himself. The jogger says, for about the fifth time, that this had been the most terrifying experience in his life. As they approach the tree, he begins to feel uneasy.
He is amazed to see that the branch he broke off is almost 3 inches in diameter was alive and healthy. He wonders how he could have had the strength to break a branch that large and heavy.
(READ THIS QUESTION CAREFULLY! YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO OFFER A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION TO THE JOGGER.)
Reader, how would you begin to explain to the jogger what psychobiological processes
(3) had been triggered in him, that may have accounted for the great physical
strength that enabled him to break off the branch that probably saved his life?
Everybody, except of course the mountain lion, lives happily ever after.
About how much time did you spend on this assignment? ________________ Hr.s
The Mountain Lion
Name and describe four psychobiological factors that may be operating in this situation. Explain what each is doing.
- Adrenal gland- the inner part of the adrenal gland is responsible for producing adrenaline. Once the jogger saw the mountain lion, adrenaline was produced in his body causing him to react rapidly by running up the tree.
- Motor neurons- these are nerve cells that form the path where impulses from the spinal cord or brain are transferred to a muscle or gland. In this case, motor neurons in the brain sent a message to the leg muscles and other muscles involved in flight enabling the jogger to run faster and climb the tree.
- Left side of the brain- it performs tasks that are logical. When the jogger discovered the lion, he knew that he couldn’t outrun it and so he did the sensible thing by climbing the tree.
- Sensory transduction- sensory receptors in the eye, photoreceptors, transmit the image seen by the eyes onto the brain’s visual cortex. When the jogger saw the lion, the eye sent a message to the brain telling him that it was a lion and he was in trouble.
Name and describe four psychobiological processes that the jogger is experiencing
- Limbic system- controls several emotions such as fear. The growling lion caused the jogger to be afraid for his life.
- Right side of the brain- this part controls creativity and imagination. The jogger was innovative in breaking off a branch and using it to swat the lion away.
- Dopamine- it regulates emotional responses and movement. It allows the body to take the necessary action to achieve a particular reward. The jogger knew that by swatting, the lion would be discouraged.
How would you explain in psychobiological terms what the jogger’s wife has been experiencing
- Hippocampus- it controls emotions and memory centers. The jogger’s wife was worried, and she remembered that the jog had taken longer than normal.
- Frontal lobe- it helps in decision making. The woman decides to call the police since her husband was late than usual.
- Amygdala- closely linked with limbic system responsible for memory and emotion. The jogger’s wife was worried about her husband.
Describe three psychobiological processes that could be in effect for the jogger after the Mt. Lion has been killed, and he has left the tree.
- Gate control theory- it helps to suppress pain once the source is gone. The jogger can relax after he is taken by the sheriff and the lion is dead.
- Reuptake- substances like serotonin and adrenaline are returned to their sources. Once home, the jogger relaxed completely and was even able to sleep.
- GABA- it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. When the lion was killed, the jogger was able to relax since the excitatory neurotransmitters had been inhibited.
Reader, how would you begin to explain to the jogger what psychobiological processes had been triggered in him
- Afferent and efferent neurons- afferent neurons carry stimuli to the brain while efferent neurons carry motor capability from the brain towards muscle movement. It allowed the jogger to break off the branch
- Just noticeable difference- the jogger had never imagined that he had strength to break a branch like that.
- Figure ground- the jogger, focused on the broken branch because it had saved his life when he used it to swat the lion.