Slide background

All living creatures have to cope with environmental
demands and threats that challenge their physical
or emotional homeostasis.

In the spotlight

Santoucha Setroikromo

Klodiana Daphne

De neurobiology of resilience

While many people experience stressful or traumatic events, the way individuals react and respond to adversity differs significantly.

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News

LUBEC

lubec

See the participate page for research on Stress & Emotion in the new LUBEC facility

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All living creatures have to cope with environmental demands and threats that challenge their physical or emotional homeostasis. For humans these challenges, or stressors, cover a wide range of acute and chronic phenomena, from direct actual physiological threats to more subjectively perceived (emotional) threats, such as neglect or the imagined loss of status. The term ‘stress’ is often used to indicate the pattern of physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to a challenge of one’s homeostasis. Ideally, the pattern of reactions results in an effective coping or adaptation, often enhancing physical or mental functioning.  However, it is well-known that acute stress can also lead to acute disturbances in cognition, mood and behaviour, and is a major precipitating and maintenance factor for long lasting disturbances like affective disorders and in the case of severe traumatic stress, posttraumatic stress disorder.  Stress related psychopathologies are among the most frequent psychiatric disorders, with a huge impact on individual lives and the society in general.  Furthermore, research has shown that exposure to chronic stress during childhood, like emotional maltreatment, has detrimental effects on a child’s psychological and biological development. These effects can persist in adulthood and are related to a variety of behavioural and emotional symptoms which can be present long after the stressor has disappeared.

Although there has been an increase in the research into brain function and dysfunction in relation to stress and emotions, there are still many unanswered questions. Within the LIBC hotspot ‘Stress & Emotion’ researchers focus on questions such as:

  • How do stress and emotions affect cognition?
  • What is the influence of stress hormones and medication on cognition?
  • Which factors (personality, genetic, brain characteristics etc.) make people vulnerable or resilient to the consequences of (traumatic) stress?
  • Which brain characteristics are involved in stress-related psychopathologies?
  • What is the impact of exposure to chronic stress during early development on brain structure and functioning?
  • Which brain networks are involved in stress and recovery from stress?
  • What is the effect of treatments on brain networks involved in stress?
  • What is the influence of stress on cognitive and emotional functioning?
  • Which brain abnormalities are found in endocrine diseases involving the stress-axis?
  • What is the impact of exposure to chronic stress during early development on brain structure and functioning?
  • How does reward affect brain function?