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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... certification process to promote standards of excellence for the field of eating disorders, ... March 22 – 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, ... ... School of Pharmacy (SOP) alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, ... professionals on guideline updates for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases during ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in the delivery of sub-acute ... of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab participated with the Shelton ... well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP). The LTC-MAP ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset ... of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will ... services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual ... in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon ... fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 12, 2017   Divoti USA ... Alert Jewelry up to the standard of the latest FDA requirements, ... June 2017). Anyone in need of Medical ID jewelry ... Medical Alert Jewelry are engraved in terms of the ... Divoti ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017  BioPharmX Corporation ... scientific team that developed an innovative way to use ... of the delivery of new drugs. ... Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference will show how researchers from ... Hospital, Harvard Medical School used a suite of imaging ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  True Health, a leader in integrated ... during National Breast Cancer Awareness month to educate ... Research recently published ... more than 10 million American women are at ... or BRCA2 and have not had testing. These mutations ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: