University of Vermont

May 2 Colloquium Will Describe 'Physiological Roller Coaster' of Stress

Dr. Elizabeth Shirtcliff, of the University of New Orleans, will speak on "Riding the Physiological Roller Coaster: How Life Stress Alters Stress Responsive Physiological Systems," Thursday, May 2 at 4 p.m. in the Davis Center's Williams Family Room.

The popular notion is that stress and, by extension, stress hormones are deleterious and aversive, but this view does not take into account many beneficial properties of stress hormones. Early theories about stress allow for dynamic hormone responses to stressors such that the stress hormone cortisol can be both beneficial and deleterious. Shirtcliff's talk will build from these theories to describe the Adaptive Calibration Model of stress responsivity. The ACM emphasizes the functional purpose of the stress hormone cortisol in order to understand that cortisol's ups and downs are a roller coaster, but at least the ride is fun.