Earth Science News  





. Mental Strategies Can Alter The Brain's Reward Circuitry

The results showed that the participants' emotion regulation strategies could influence physiological and neural responses relevant to the expectation of reward.
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Jul 01, 2008
The cognitive strategies humans use to regulate emotions can determine both neurological and physiological responses to potential rewards, a team of New York University and Rutgers University neuroscientists has discovered.

The findings, reported in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shed light on how the regulation of emotions may influence decision making.

Previous research has demonstrated these strategies can alter responses to negative events. However, less understood is whether such strategies can also efficiently regulate expectations of a future reward or a desired outcome.

Scientists have already determined that the expectation of a potential reward brings about positive feelings and aids recognizing environmental cues that predict future rewards. Central to this process is the role of the striatum, a multi-faceted structure in the brain that is involved in reward processing-and which is especially engaged when potential rewards are predicted or anticipated.

However, the striatum signal is not always beneficial. Its activity also correlates with drug-specific cravings, most likely increasing urges to partake in risk-seeking behavior in the pursuit of rewards that are detrimental. Therefore, understanding how to regulate or control the positive feelings associated with reward expectation is an important line of inquiry.

The NYU study was conducted by a team of researchers from the laboratory of NYU Professor Elizabeth Phelps, who co-authored the work with Mauricio R. Delgado, now a professor at Rutgers University, and M. Meredith Gillis, an NYU graduate student. They sought to better understand the influence of emotional regulation strategies on the physiological and neural processes relevant to expectations of reward.

The study's subjects were presented with two conditioned stimuli, a blue and a yellow square that either predicted or did not predict a potential monetary reward.

Prior to each trial, participants were also given a written cue that instructed them to either respond to the stimulus ("think of the meaning of the blue square, such as a potential reward") or regulate their emotional response to the stimulus ("think of something blue in nature that calms you down, such as the ocean").

Skin conductance responses (SCRs) of the participants were taken at the beginning of each conditioned stimulus. These served as a behavioral measure of physiological reaction potentially related to reward anticipation.

The results showed that the participants' emotion regulation strategies could influence physiological and neural responses relevant to the expectation of reward. Specifically, results from the SCRs revealed that the subjects' emotion regulation strategies decreased arousal that was linked to the anticipation of a potential reward.

"Our findings demonstrated that emotion regulation strategies can successfully curb physiological and neural responses associated with the expectation of reward," said Delgado. "This is a first step to understanding how our thoughts may effectively control positive emotions and eventual urges that may arise, such as drug cravings."

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
New York University
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Italian World War I veteran dies at age 109
Rome (AFP) June 30, 2008
One of the last veterans of the First World War, Italian Francesco Domenico Chiarello, has died at the age of 109, the defence ministry said on Monday.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Australia, Japan, US plan disaster relief exercises
  • AIDS epidemic is disaster like drought, floods for Africa: Red Cross
  • US helicopters lift aid to typhoon-ravaged Philippines
  • Bangladesh steps up earthquake response plans

  • Ancient Oak Trees Help Reduce Global Warming
  • Global Warming Causing Significant Shift In Composition Of Coastal Fish Communities
  • Ways To Tame The Climate
  • Analysis: Germany's new climate package

  • ESA Satellite Assesses Damage Of Norway's Largest Fire
  • Bird Watchers And Space Technology Come Together In New Study
  • Ocean Satellite Launch Critical To Australian science
  • GAO Report Reveals Continuing Problems With NPOESS

  • A Novel X-Ray Source Could Be Brightest In The World
  • Analysis: Iraq Energy Roundup
  • Putin says central Asia wants to raise gas price for Ukraine
  • Analysis: Nigeria attack cripples Chevron

  • China seals off quake town over epidemic fears: report
  • Epidemics emerge as major threat in China's quake zone: report
  • Bird flu hits southern China: state press
  • Wet Or Dry, Montana Still Threatened By West Nile

  • High Hormone Levels In Seabird Chicks Prepare Them To Kill Their Siblings
  • Primate's Scent Speaks Volumes About Who He Is
  • Early Bird Project Really Gets The Worm
  • New Discovery Proves Selfish Gene Exists

  • Global waste meeting fails to break impasse: delegate
  • Database Shows Effects Of Acid Rain On Microorganisms In Adirondack Lakes
  • Brown Researchers Create Mercury-Absorbent Container Linings For Broken CFLs
  • Nepalese climber pushes for cleaner Everest

  • Mental Strategies Can Alter The Brain's Reward Circuitry
  • Italian World War I veteran dies at age 109
  • US top court upholds right to own guns, rejects handgun ban
  • Men Share Creative Work Online More Than Women

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement