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Cognitive Activation Theory of Stress (CATS)

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This is a brief review of the Cognitive Activation Theory of Stress CATS Ursin and Eriksen 2004, which offers a systematic formal theory of the relationships between challenges and the way humans as well as animals handle such challenges. The theory is based on basic science and clinical data from human and animal research. It offers systematic definitions of the psychological responses to challenges, and the expectancies that are acquired by each individual. This forms the psychobiological foundation for somatic and mental health, for military personnel or civilians, for animals as well as for humans, across species and cultures Ursin and Eriksen 2004, Ursin 2009. This bridge between data sets from research on animals as well as from humans is obtained by systematic logical formulations for the expectancies acquired by the brains, following principles from learning theory. CATS is a cognitive theory since the physiological and psychological consequences of stress all depend on cognitive evaluations of the situation and the consequences. A crucial concept is expectancy , the knowledge we acquire when dealing with challenging situations. CATS is a psychobiological theory, the psychobiological consequences of the cognitive activity is explained by increases in brain activation arousal - wakefulness, and the psychological and physiological concomitants of arousal. CATS is a theory in that all concepts are given formal symbolic definitions, and that it claims to be compatible with the empirical basis in this area of psychobiology Ursin and Eriksen 2004.

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  • Psychology
  • Stress Physiology

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