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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Horror films stimulate our fight or flight responses
The team believes the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers the fight or flight response.
- Samantha Jacobs, Shard End, Birmingham IT'S thought that this peculiar feeling must be linked to the body's primitive "fight or flight response" when it feels threatened.
Oxygen starvation chronically excites the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and the fight or flight response," says Richard Rosen, author of The Yoga of Breath.