Navigation Links
Force of habit: Stress hormones switch off areas of the brain for goal-directed behaviour
Date:7/25/2012

Cognition psychologists at the Ruhr-Universitt together with colleagues from the University Hospital Bergmannsheil (Prof. Dr. Martin Tegenthoff) have discovered why stressed persons are more likely to lapse back into habits than to behave goal-directed. The team of PD Dr. Lars Schwabe and Prof. Dr. Oliver Wolf from the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience have mimicked a stress situation in the body using drugs. They then examined the brain activity using functional MRI scanning. The researchers have now reported in the Journal of Neuroscience that the interaction of the stress hormones hydrocortisone and noradrenaline shut down the activity of brain regions for goal-directed behaviour. The brain regions responsible for habitual behaviour remained unaffected.

Two stress hormones in use

In order to test the different stress hormones, the cognition psychologists used three substances - a placebo, the stress hormone hydrocortisone and yohimbine, which ensures that the stress hormone noradrenaline stays active longer. Part of the volunteers received hydrocortisone alone or just yohimbine, others both substances. A fourth group were administered a placebo. Altogether, the data of 69 volunteers was included in the study.

Goal-directed behaviour and habits investigated in the experiment

In the experiment, all participants - both male and female - learned that they would receive cocoa or orange juice as a reward if they chose certain symbols on the computer. After this learning phase, volunteers were allowed to eat as many oranges or as much chocolate pudding as they liked. "That weakens the value of the reward", explained Schwabe. "Whoever eats chocolate pudding will lose the attraction to cocoa. Whoever is satiated with oranges, has less appetite for orange juice." In this context, goal-directed behaviour means: Whoever has previously eaten the chocolate pudding, chooses the symbols leading to cocoa reward less frequently. Whoever is satiated with oranges, selects less frequently the symbols associated with orange juice. Based on previous results, the scientists assumed that only the combination of yohimbine and hydrocortisone attenuates goal-directed behaviour. They have now confirmed this hypothesis.

Combined effect of yohimbine and hydrocortisone

As expected, volunteers who took yohimbine and hydrocortisone did not behave goal-directed but according to habit. In other words, satiation with oranges or chocolate pudding had no effect. Persons who had taken a placebo or only one medication, on the other hand, behaved goal-directed and showed a satiating effect. The brain data revealed: The combination of yohimbine and hydrocortisone reduced the activity in the forebrain in the so-called orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortex. These areas have been already previously associated with goal-directed behaviour. The brain regions which are important for habitual learning, on the other hand, were similarly active for all volunteers.


'/>"/>
Contact: PD Dr. Lars Schwabe
Lars.Schwabe@rub.de
49-234-322-9324
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Test-Med Joins Forces with Mollen to Expand its Service Offerings to its Customers
2. APA task force recommends treatment guidelines and position statements on transgender persons
3. U.S. Mammography Rates Drop Following Task Force Recommendations
4. US mammograms decline after task force recommendation, Mayo Clinic finds
5. Task force recommends new lung cancer screening guidelines
6. MDS researchers join forces to advance patient treatments and outcomes
7. Older Women Should Not Take Calcium, Vitamin D: Task Force
8. U.S. Task Force Issues Blood Pressure Guidelines
9. Yoga reduces stress; now its known why
10. Male Ontario students show declines in fighting; females show elevated bullying and mental distress
11. Stressful Jobs Linked to Heart Woes in Women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... They are musicians and librarians, fashion designers and ... fathers, from New England and around the nation. What do they have in common? ... in a beautiful and compelling new photographic exhibit debuting Friday, December 9 at Logan ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... The Cliff Hart Agencies, ... South Lyon, Dewitt, Williamston, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Farmington Hills, is announcing ... a brain tumor. , Jason Bauer and his family are longtime members of ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... One of two inventors ... the securement tape is painful for her. "This is why the co-inventor and I ... she said. , They then created a prototype of the patent-pending AV-AIR, a device ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... OCTOBER XX, 2016 (PRWEB) (PRWEB) December 07, 2016 , ... ... new study entitled “Canine Filamentous Dermatitis Associated with Borrelia Infection” ... The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Veterinary Science & Medical ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Facial plastic surgeon, Dr. John ... by donating a portion of proceeds to two local organizations: North Chicago Animal Control ... & Friends is a team of authorized and trained volunteers who support rescued ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Biosimilar Clinical Trial & Opportunity Insight" report by PNS Pharma gives comprehensive ... Currently 5 biosimilar version of Lantus are commercially available in ... , Czech Republic , Estonia , ... Slovakia , United Kingdom for the treatment ... in 2014. Lantus is the brand name for Insulin Glargine, a ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016  Urinary catheters are used for patients ... urological disorders. Urinary catheters include indwelling (Foley) catheter, ... or Foley catheter is a flexible tube with ... is inserted into the bladder through the urethra ... attachment at one end of the catheter is ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 7, 2016 ... This report on the global hospital linen supply ... forecast of this market on a global and regional ... with forecast for the period between 2015 and 2024 ... governing the dynamics of the market along with their ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: