Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Circadian Rhythms

  • Bruce J. DiamondEmail author
  • Walter Barr
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_546


Biological cycles; Biorhythms; Circadian clock

Short Description or Definition

One of the pervasive characteristics of living organisms are rhythmic biological and behavioral changes, which are expressed at varying levels of organization ranging from the cellular to highly complex multicellular systems. These rhythms are generally referred to as circadian rhythms, and they organize a variety of behaviors, including sleep, which is, for example, characterized by a 90-min rapid eye movement (REM) cycle and the wakefulness–sleep cycle, which is organized around an approximate 24-h cycle (Carlson 1999).


The core body temperature rhythm and the sleep–wake cycle are among the most extensively studied of the human biorhythms (Weinert 2010) with the 24-h circadian rhythms figuring prominently in the literature. These rhythms impact daily life (e.g., work, school, medical–psychological status) and are of relatively brief duration, so they are amenable to study (Clark 2005...
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilliam Paterson UniversityWayneUSA