Research by Columbia Business School's Modupe Akinola, Assistant Professor, Management, and Wendy Berry Mendes, Associate Professor, Sarlo/Ekman Endowed Chair of Emotion, University of California San Francisco in Behavioral Neuroscience examines how increases in cortisol, brought on by an acute social stressor, can influence threat-related decision making. The researchers studied a group of police officers completing a standardized laboratory stressor and then afterwards the group completed a computer simulated threat-related decision making task designed to examine accuracy in decisions to shoot or not shoot armed and unarmed black and white targets. The study found that male police officers of different ethnic backgrounds with higher cortisol responses to stress made fewer errors in the decision making task, particularly when deciding whether or not to shoot armed black targets relative to armed white targets.
Poverty is bad for your health. Poor people are much more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and cancer than wealthy people, and have a lower life expectancy, too. Children who grow up poor are more likely to have health problems as adults. But despite these depressing statistics, many children who grow up poor have good health. In a new article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Edith Chen and Gregory E. Miller of the University of British Columbia suggest a possible reason: some children have role models who teach them to cope with stress. "Who are these bright spots who, despite a lot of adversity, make it through and do well?" Chen asked. She suspects the answer has to do with stress. Growing up poor can be stressful, and stress increases the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Anxiety, depression, stress and social support can predict early alcohol and illicit drug use in youth, according to a study from Carolyn McCarty, PhD, of Seattle Children's Research Institute, and researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle University. Middle school students from the sixth to the eighth grade who felt more emotional support from teachers reported a delay in alcohol and other illicit substance initiation. Those who reported higher levels of separation anxiety from their parents were also at decreased risk for early alcohol use. The study, "Emotional Health Predictors of Substance Use Initiation During Middle School, " was published in advance online in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Relatively few studies have examined support for youth from nonfamily members of the adolescent's social support network, including teachers.
A study published by University of Kentucky researchers shows that survivors of multiple cancers report unhealthier behaviors post-diagnosis than control counterparts. Published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the study recorded answers regarding health status and health behaviors from 404, 525 adults using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Participants who said they had never received a diagnosis of cancer from a health professional were considered controls, while those who answered "yes" were considered cancer survivors. Those who had received two or more cancer diagnoses were considered a survivor of multiple cancers. The study showed that survivors of multiple cancers reported a poorer physical and mental health status compared to survivors of a single cancer, who in turn reported a poorer overall health status relative to the control group.
Improved Understanding Of Memory Formation Leads To New Insight Into Disorders Like Schizophrenia And PTSD
Scripps Research Institute scientists and their colleagues have successfully harnessed neurons in mouse brains, allowing them to at least partially control a specific memory. Though just an initial step, the researchers hope such work will eventually lead to better understanding of how memories form in the brain, and possibly even to ways to weaken harmful thoughts for those with conditions such as schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder. The results are reported in the journal Science. Researchers have known for decades that stimulating various regions of the brain can trigger behaviors and even memories. But understanding the way these brain functions develop and occur normally - effectively how we become who we are - has been a much more complex goal. "The question we're ultimately interested in is: How does the activity of the brain represent the world?