How brain ’s reward system lessened distress over 2016 election results

Some people disturbed by the 2016 presidential election have suffered a loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and concentrating, and have become easily annoyed, while others equally disturbed by the election result have not experienced such symptoms of depression. A new study by UCLA psychologists explains the differences between these two groups.Those who had no symptoms of depression had either strong family support or heightened activity in two key regions of the brain ’s reward system: the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex.“This is the first study to show this buffering effect of the brain works for events that are political in nature,” said senior author Adriana Galván, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute.The researchers brought in their first study participant on Dec. 9, 2016, one month after the election, and the study lasted through March 2017. The research ispublished online today in the Journal of Neuroscience.Galv án and Sarah Tashjian, first author and a UCLA doctoral student in psychology, evaluated 60 people from Los Angeles in two groups and conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans at UCLA’s Staglin Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. The first group (the “affected” group) had 40 participants who were disturbed by the presidential election and thought they would be personally harmed by Donald Trump’s presidency. A seco...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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