fight or flight response


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Related to fight or flight response: General adaptation syndrome

fight or flight re·sponse

a theory advanced by Walter B. Cannon, according to which animal and human organisms in situations requiring that they either fight or flee are provided with a check-and-drive mechanism that puts them in readiness to respond with undivided energy output; the mechanism is characterized by increased sympathetic nervous system activity, including increased catecholamine production with associated increases in blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates, and skeletal muscle blood flow. Thus an internal reaction makes possible external behavior in response to danger.
See also: relaxation response. Compare: alarm reaction.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fight or flight response still operates in people today, but it is more likely triggered by a traffic jam than a saber-toothed tiger.
Horror films stimulate our fight or flight responses
Our study was the first to examine the role of a dysfunctional fight or flight response in depression in a large population.
The team believes the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers the fight or flight response.