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fight or flight response

 

Definition: 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.

Synonym(s): Cannon theory, emergency theory

See Also: relaxation response

Further information

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.

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