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Infradian Rhythms

Circadian Rhythms
Ultradian Rhythms
Infradian Rhythms
Approx. 28 days
• Rhythms that have a period greater than 24hrs but less
than 1 year, example: Monthly Cycles
• Menstrual Cycle (regulate ovulation: to produce and discharge eggs from an ovary)
Pituitary gland releases hormones FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) &
LH (luteinizing hormone) Stimulate a follicle in 1 ovary to ripen egg &
release oestrogen.
Once egg is ripened, bursting follicle releases progesterone
Lining of womb/increase blood supply prepare for
pregnancy … no pregnancy? Levels of pro. falls lining sheds

21 men. Temp. and mood measured over periods (varying

49-102 days) Found occurring changes of body temp. and

biased ratings of morning alertness. Cycle length

approx. 20 days (Empson, 1977) – historical validity?
Infradian Rhythms
• Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Infradian rhythms don’t need to be monthly, it can be once a
year rhythm/cycle.
Some people suffer from SAD (depressive condition) They become
depressed during winter and recover during summer.

Causes of this depression??

Research shows…
Melatonin (hormone) released by pineal gland when it becomes
dark. This hormone may be related to chronic
• Menstrual cycle controlled by the release of hormones
under the control of the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
• But can be controlled by other factors… Research shows
when a no. of women live together & don’t take oral
contraceptives, tend to menstruate at same time.
• Russell et al. 1980 – What did he find?

• SAD led to effective therapies. Phototherapy: strong

lights to decrease (typo in book) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
• Studies have found this hormone level is changed by
• Murphy et al. (1993) – phototherapy suppresses it.
Question Time
1. What is Infradian rhythms?

3. Process of the menstrual cycle?

5. What did Empson (1977) find?

7. What does SAD stand for?

9. What hormone is released when it gets dark?

11. What therapy is used effectively to treat SAD?

13. What did Murphy et al (1993) find?

24hr cycle. Controlled by your biological ‘clock’ which changes every day according to
environmental time cues. Also regulates other aspects of daily behaviour like
temperature and our sleep-wake cycle.

Circadian Rhythms
• Sleep-wake Cycle (What happens when your clock is allowed to be ‘free running’?
– free of external cues)

Aschoff & Wever (1976) – ppt. in underground ww2

bunker. No environmental time cues (sunlight) Found most
ppt. displayed C. Rhythms between 24-25 hrs.

Alter Environmental cues?

Folkard et al. (1985) – 12 ppt. In ‘temporal isolation unit’
for 3 weeks with any light or time cues. All agreed to
sleep when clock said 11.45pm and wake at 7.45am.
Clock did run normally but slowly became faster. When
indicating 24hrs but actually only 22hrs.
Only 1 ppt. rhythm changed to the 22hr regime, rest
went back to normal rhythms – showing strong free
running rhythm (not affected by environment cues)
Circadian Rhythms
• Temperature
Core body temp. rises to highest at about 4pm and falls
about 1ºC over the next 12hrs to a low point at 4am.

Research studies have found…

Certain cognitive (mind) behaviours vary with this temp.
rhythm, example:

Folkhard et al. (1977) – tested memory recall (12/13 yr olds)

and found long term recall after a week was best when
learned to recall material at 3pm rather than 9am.
How timing affects drug treatment (taking aspirin)

• Sleep-wake Cycle. In all studies, ppt. are isolated from
Applications of variables like daylight but not artificial lighting: dim lighting
this research? has no affect? Czeisler et al. (1999) changed ppt. _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ rhythms down to 22hrs and up to 28hrs using dim
Best time to study? Morning & early
evenings (most alert)
• Individual Differences: 1. Cycle Length: can vary anywhere
from 13-65hrs (Czeisler et al. 1999) 2. Cycles onset;
individuals appear to be innately different terms of when
their C. Rhythms reaches its peak. (everyone got different C. rhythms) E.g.
Duffy et al. (2000) – found what?

• Temperature. Changes of body temp. cause

improvements in cognitive performance? But there is a
causal relationship.
• Giesbrecht et al. (1993): cold water, worse perf.
• Wilkinson et al. (1964): + body temp. some improvements.
• Wright et al. (2002): high temp. = increased physiological
arousal = improved perf.
Question Time
• What is Circadian Rhythms?

• What did Aschoff & Wever (1976) find?

• What did Folkard et al. in 1977 find? (Temperature)

• What variable did actually affect Circadian rhythms?

• What did Duffy et al. (2000) find?

• What evidence is there to support a causal relationship

between temperature and cognitive performance?
Rhythms which span less than 1 day

Ultradian Rhythms
• Sleep Stages. Within the sleep section of the circadian
cycle, there is another rhythm: Ultradian Rhythms. A
cycle of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM sleep over the
sleep period.

• NREM sleep (4 stages) 1/2: shallow into deep/slow wave

sleep (SWS) (3/4). One way to identify these stages is
using electroencephalograph (EEG) machine.
Progression through the stages is seen by decreasing
freq. and increasing size.

• REM sleep: fast, desynchronized EEG = awake state

• Cycle continues throughout night: SWS gets shorter,
REM slightly longer.

• Sleep cycle lasts about 60min in early infancy (why

babies cry at night?) and increases to 90min in
Ultradian Rhythms
• Basic rest-activity Cycle.
90min sleep cycle within a 24hr circadian cycle. So there
must be a 90min ‘clock’ ticking during the day as well as
at night. = BRAC

• Friedman & Fisher (1967) – observed eating and drinking

behaviour in a group of mental patients over periods of
6hrs – finding a clear n cycle in eating & drinking.
• Sleep Stages. One issue with _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ studies is
the thought that REM sleep is linked to dreaming. People
have awoken during REM sleep (paradoxical sleep) often to report
dreams but this isn't always the case.

• Basic rest-activity cycle. The ___min cycle is a form of

timing to ensure that biological processes in the body
happen at the same time.

E.g. Orchestra (Circadian Rhythm) …

… Needs a Conductor (BRAC)
Question Time
1. What is Ultradian Rhythms? Cycle of what?

3. How many stages are there? What is happening in


5. What is an EEG?

7. REM Sleep is characterised by what?

9. What does BRAC stand for?

11. What did Friedman and Fisher find?

13. What is REM sleep usually linked to?