How wisdom can protect against the effects of loneliness

Basic

  • The study was conducted with 147 participants, and it showed that in the face of external stimuli, the cognitive responses of individuals are not identical as in other participants.
  • EEG records also show that specific areas of the brain, such as the temporal-parietal joint (TPJ), are activated differently in more lonely and wiser individuals.
  • This discovery may eventually lead to new treatments to reduce the health effects of loneliness.

Apathy, chronic fatigue, mood swings, depression, loss or increased appetite, sleep disturbances, lack of focus and motivation, feeling sad … the health crisis has highlighted The mental and physical health consequences of isolation. Several studies have shown that feeling lonely, too Associated with increased mortality.

According to a new study published by the magazine Cerebral cortexEmotion can help fight The harmful effects of loneliness on health : Wisdom. Conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, this work demonstrates that there is an inverse relationship between loneliness and wisdom, and that the latter is On the basis of reverse brain processes.

Various reactions to feelings

“We were interested in how loneliness and wisdom were related to emotional biases, that is, how we interact with different positive and negative emotions.”, Details Jyoti Mishra, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of San Diego School of Medicine.

To study the link between wisdom and loneliness, the researchers followed 147 participants, between the ages of 18 and 85, who were asked to perform a simple cognitive task to determine which direction the arrow is pointing as faces in the dark. Various emotions were displayed in the background. .

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The researchers then found that when faces that emit anger were presented as distracting factors, they significantly slowed down simple cognitive responses in lonely people. “This means that more isolated individuals pay more attention to threat triggers, such as angry faces.”The researcher explains.

The opposite happened with the wisest and happiest participants. “We found a significant positive correlation for response rates when displaying happy faces, especially individuals who displayed wiser traits, such as empathy, and had faster responses in the presence of happy stimuli.”

Different brain regions involved

The researchers also passed the EEGs to the participants. The brain recordings showed that the part of the brain called the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) was activated differently in the most isolated and prudent individuals. When asked about theory of mind treatment, or the degree of ability to empathize and understand others, the TPJ reaction was different in different individuals: He was more active in the presence of feelings of anger for lonely people. And more active in attendance. From the happy feelings of the wisest people.

In lonely people, the researchers also observed greater activity in the presence of threatening stimuli in the left superior parietal cortex, an area of ​​the brain important for allocating attention. Wisdom was more related to increased activity in the presence of happy emotions in the left part of the brain, and is responsible for social characteristics such as empathy.

“These findings are relevant to individuals’ mental and physical health because they give us objective neurobiological insight into how people process loneliness or wisdom for information.”Professor Mishra explains. According to him, “The presence of biological markers that we can measure in the brain.” It may help develop new, more effective ways to alleviate the health effects of loneliness, including depression. “Ultimately, we believe that these evidence-based cognitive brain markers are key to developing better healthcare for the future that can address the loneliness epidemic.”Concludes.

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