Category Archives: Emotion

Anxiety and depression: protection through resilience

This article was posted in support of Homeless Persons’ Week 2016, for which traumatic life experiences and mental health problems are one of the major risk factors. Dr Justine Gatt is a Group Leader at NeuRA. She runs a research program in risk and resilience in mental health. Her research focuses on understanding the predictors of anxiety and depression risk, […]

Read more

Creating resilience protects the future mental health of our children

Improving resilience and how children feel about themselves and others may have an important knock-on effect for their future mental health, especially if they experience psychotic-like symptoms. In the first study of its kind, our group of researchers are investigating how schematic beliefs – that is, beliefs formed early in life and shaped by childhood experience – may be associated […]

Read more

Fight, flight or … faint? Why some people pass out when they see blood or feel pain

Most people find the sight of blood or a hypodermic needle enough to cause some discomfort, but why do some people faint when faced with them? If you’re someone who finds yourself sweating about your upcoming flu jab, you might have your prehistoric ancestors to thank. Phobias are part of the anxiety disorder family. They are thought to arise because […]

Read more

Shining a light on brain activity in toddlers with autism

Using fNIRS opens doors and provides new opportunities for studying brain activity that was not previously possible. Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect the ability to communicate and interact with others. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis and intervention lead […]

Read more

The Social Brain

Dr Muireann Irish uncovers the part of the brain that underpins social cognitive deficits in semantic dementia, further unraveling mysteries behind the disease. It may sound like the subject matter of a science fiction movie, but mind-reading is a process in which we regularly engage. On a daily basis, whenever we interact in social scenarios, we go beyond our own […]

Read more

Beyond motor symptoms in MND

Motor neurone disease (MND), as discussed in previous posts, is not a disease of pure motor symptoms. MND can also affect one’s ability to perform complex judgments (e.g. financial decision-making) and leads to changes in behaviour (e.g. a person once very active and driven can become apathetic). These non-motor symptoms and behavioural changes often go unrecognised and underdiagnosed. In a […]

Read more

Emotional control circuitry and schizophrenia

In addition to the ‘classic’ symptoms of psychosis which include delusions and hallucinations, people with schizophrenia often have problems with ‘executive functions’. This is a cognitive system that resides predominantly in the frontal lobes and regulates other cognitive processes. It is typically invoked when automatic processes need to be overruled to produce appropriate goal-directed behaviour. Another domain that is often […]

Read more

Musical cognition: the demise of ‘left-brain right-brain’?

When looking at a human face we take it for granted that we can distinguish a happy face from a sad face and a scary face from a relaxed face. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias often exhibit deficits in this area, and while this is interesting from a cognitive perspective, it has real world implications for the families of people […]

Read more