Christophe Bousquet

Someone is shy

Christophe hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Noface
Christophe Bousquet
Posted almost 2 years ago
What about animals?
Well, I guess Kelly McGonigal implies that stress is only problematic when individuals classify it as bad, because the study she referred to asked the people whether or not they thought stress is good or bad. She also says precisely: "How you think about stress matters". This renders self-awareness necessary to have an effect. As you rightly write, "animals may not have the self awareness". Therefore, their cognitive abilities prevent them from a) putting a name on stress, and b) classifying stress as good or bad. The fact that animals are able to maintain or not their stasis is not enough to compensate for this lack of cognitives abilities. If they are stuck in a negative "balance in relationship to themselves and their environment" (for instance, they cannot emigrate), they would all rate stress as bad and would all suffer from it. No animal could be stuck in this negative balance and not suffer from it, justly because animals cannot rate this negative balance as good. Hence the paradox I do not understand: stress has less severe impacts on health when rated as good, but to rate it as good an individual need to be cognitively able to do so. Animals do feel the stress but cannot classify it as good or bad, unless I missed a study somewhere. And animals feel stress so much that, as you rightly point out, it can have "profound effects on the body". So they act as if they could rate stress as bad. Besides, if stress makes us social, as Kelly also reports in her talk, then one should expect that stressful environments contain more social animal species. I do not think this has ever been shown. And, by the way, I am fully aware that humans are animals.
Noface
Christophe Bousquet
Posted almost 2 years ago
What about animals?
Thanks Greg for your answer. I think Kelly is referring to the normal stress, even though this was not very clear in her talk. There is an important distinction to be made between chronic and normal stress. And the causes of chronic stress are much more difficult to change than for normal stress, even for humans. So I still think that humans facing chronic stress will have health consequences, independently from how they judge stress. However, I still have not read the paper Kelly is referring to, and it might help understand better what she meant.
Noface
Christophe Bousquet
Posted almost 2 years ago
What about animals?
Thanks Frans for your answer. It indeed seems important to make the distinction. From what I understand now, individuals can avoid harmful effects of normal stress by perceiving this type of stress as being good. However, chronic stress is dangerous and its effects on health cannot be avoided by beliefs about whether or not stress is good. This is why animals (and plants as you rightly pointed out) are also affected by chronic stress, be it physical or social.