The Methodological Limits of Stress Research. Recent technological developments allow us to gather a considerable amount of information on the functioning of an individual (neurological, metabolic, behavioral, psychiatric, sociological, etc. ). However, the statistical methods presently available to organize this data do not allow us to manage as much information as is necessary to understand individuals without generating false results.
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By false results, â I mean statistical tests that signal a strong correlation between several sets of data while the research method does not guarantee that this correlation is not due to chance. The crux of the matter is that statistical tests require a large number of subjects to test the impact of only a few variables. The more variables you have, the larger the required number of subjects. Today, technology allows us to gather huge amounts of data on each subject. On the other hand, the expensive machinery used by neurologists only allows them to observe small groups of subjects. Because they are nevertheless understandably eager to explore the information their electronic devices allow them to gather, they collect whatever data they can and then use classical statistics to analyze it. Because they are not always statistically wise, this procedure yields a large number of false results with apparently high statistical significance. There is therefore a lack of adaptation between the current statistical methods and the recent development of technology. The result is that many researchers are showing us that there is probably a great many situations that produce profound stress. We find the same problem with certain research that associates cancer with certain products. The only guarantee against this type of statistical effect is the replication of the experiment by different research groups. The more there is replication, the more the observed result of a particular research study becomes robust.
For example, take the excellent recent research conducted by Karin Roelofs and his Yoga poses for male sexuality team (2009) that observed an intense interaction between the following variables on groups of approximately twenty subjects:
1. A photo of an angry face.
2. Gestures of the arms and hands going toward the photo or toward oneself.
3. A diagnosis of post-traumatic anxiety disorder, social phobia, and subjects without any discernible psychiatric diagnosis.
4. Blood pressure.
5. The quantity of mobilized Cortisol.
The results indicate that there is probably a strong interaction between these variables. However, poses for male sexuality the preceding remarks make us cautious. All that we can say about studies of this type is that the researchers would like to show that there is an intimate link between all of the variables that they are able to measure: such is the present-day myth that is in yoga poses vogue. The whole of body psychotherapy uses an analogous model when it reflects on the functioning of an individual and finds clinical reasons to justify its point of view. The practitioners of body psychotherapy consequently identify this type of research as a proof of the soundness of their point of view. But these research studies prove nothing at the moment. They add one more example that supports the myth of an intimate relationship between the dimensions of the organism and its environment. This example reinforces the body of clinical and experimental data that goes in yoga poses this direction; but the statistical problems I have indicated do not provide a sufficient basis to allow us to speak of scientific proof. In yoga poses other words, it is possible that there is actually a convergence between clinical and experimental data. For the moment, this convergence only has the status of an intellectual way of thinking that is relatively robust. I have not, for the time being, found research studies that invalidate this point of view.
The aim of this analysis is to render the psychotherapeutic practitioner attentive to the fact that the press is actually full of alarming articles showing that a particular food, a behavior, or a context considerably increases the probability that the axis of stress will be activated or cancer will develop. Most of these works are interesting but suffer from a lack of adequate replication to become anything more than an observation that presents a question. Above all, I hope this research will motivate mathematicians to develop statistical theories that will permit a more fruitful analysis of the immense pile of data that the new technologies have made possible. 92 For the moment, there is such a considerable amount of data that reason often drowns in yoga poses it all.
Uvnas-Moberg and Oxytocin: The Axis of Affection.
The motivation systemsâ are networks of specialized nerve cells that have the capacity poses for male sexuality to synthesize and to release certain transmitters such as dopamine, endogenous opioids and oxytocin. These transmitters, if acting in yoga poses common, may create a psychological state that we call motivation, vitality or creativity. Dopamine gives us the feeling of energy; the opioids provide that we feel fine while doing something and oxytocin motivates us to do something for or together with people we like. (Joachim Bauer, 2009, The Brain Transforms Psychology into Biology, â 234)
The axis of stress has sometimes been used as a medical tool. In yoga poses its simplified version it seems to have clear boundaries, forming a well-differentiated subsystem. This simplification was necessary to support the activity of the practitioners who are not researchers. In yoga poses reality, the axis of stress is not as coherent as it might seem It remains a good example of how an affective organization can mobilize all the dimensions of the organism for its own purpose. Thus, the dynamics of consciousness are recruited in yoga poses such a way that they generate a profusion of pessimistic thoughts. When the organism needs to be motivated to run as fast as it can from danger, this may be a useful mood. When the danger persists, pessimism leads to depression. The stressed person believes that they are his thoughts and defends them. He thus defends the perpetuation of his stress. Yet when the stressed response has been deactivated, the person appreciates having another mood. This model can only be confirmed if there exists other affects that have a similar structure because it is rare that biological evolution sustains a mechanism that has only one function. It would be too costly for the organism Since the 1960s, researchers have shown that the dynamics isolated around the notions of stress and trauma are also mobilized to construct affective systems that support constructive affects. Having discussed the axis of stress, I am now going to talk about the more recent research studies, and consequently less developed ones, on the vegetative management of positive affiliation.