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The Reactive Scope Model
We have recently proposed a new model to understand and interpret
how an animal responds to stress. This model presumes that hormonal,
behavioral, and physiological mediators exist in four ranges. The
Homeostatic Failure range is too low to sustain homeostasis and the
animal would soon die if its mediators were in this range. Above
this range is Predictive Homeostasis, where the mediators vary daily
and yearly, but always in response to highly predictable changes in
their environment (such as day/night and seasonal differences).
However, if an unpredictable change occurs, the mediator must
increase into the Reactive Homeostasis range. This is the classic
stress response where the mediator helps the animal survive the
unpredictable change. Together, the Predictive and Reactive
Homeostasis ranges form the normal reactive scope of the animal.
Finally, if the mediator extends above the Reactive Homeostasis
range, then the mediator enters Homeostatic Overload and the
symptoms of chronic stress start to occur.
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