The right hemisphere and the human stress response [Supplement]

Catholic University of Eichstätt, Department of Physiological and Clinical Psychology, Germany.
Acta physiologica Scandinavica. Supplementum 02/1997; 640(640):55-9.
Source: PubMed


Evidence is presented that most components of the human stress response are influenced asymmetrically by the cerebral hemispheres. The right hemisphere is endowed with a unique response system preparing the organism to deal efficiently with external challenges. Therefore, both the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and the sympathetic-adrenomedullary (SA) axis seem to be under the main control of the right hemisphere.

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    • ", 2007 ) . These observations suggest that activation of the right PFC results in increased emotionality , an idea that is supported by the fact that when emotional stimuli are presented selectively to the right hemisphere , the raise in cortisol is remarkably greater ( Wittling , 1997 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in the integration of cognitive and affective behavior and regulating autonomic and neuroendocrine functions. This region of the brain, which may be considered analogous to the RAM memory of a computer, is important for translating stressful experience into adaptive behavior. The PFC responds to stress and modulates the response to stress through regulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) which, in turn, controls sympathoadrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity. Interestingly, the latter convey the signals that link the CNS with the immune system. The present review highlights findings that contribute to elucidate the involvement of the PFC in the control of behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to chronic stress. It also considers the implications of these regulatory links for disorders of the nervous and immune systems.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 08/2008; 22(5):630-8. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2008.01.005 · 5.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Vigilance to threat has been suggested to be specialized in the right hemisphere, where brain structures, including the amygdala , may play an important role in the processing and interpretation of threat (M. X. Cohen & Shaver, 2004; Compton, 2003; Compton et al., 2003; Mogg & Bradley, 1999; Rhodes, 1985; Wittling, 1997). Such a " threat surveillance " function of the right hemisphere has been supported by results of studies using different methodologies, ranging from dichotic listening to event-related brain potentials to functional magnetic resonance (Asbjörnsen, Hugdahl, & Bryden, 1992; Compton et al., 2003; Compton, Wilson , & Wolf, 2004; Fox, 2002; Gruzelier & Phelan, 1991; Nitschke, Heller, & Miller, 2000; Van Strien & Heijt, 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: Personality processes relating to social perception have been shown to play a significant role in the experience of stress. In 5 studies, the authors demonstrate that early stage attentional processes influence the perception of social threat and modify the human stress response. The authors first show that cortisol release in response to a stressful situation correlates with selective attention toward social threat. Second, the authors show in 2 laboratory studies that this attentional pattern, most evident among individuals with low self-esteem, can be modified with a repetitive training task. Next, in a field study, students trained to modify their attentional pattern to reduce vigilance for social threat showed lower self-reported stress related to their final exam. In a final field study with telemarketers, the attentional training task led to increased self-esteem, decreased cortisol and perceived stress responses, higher confidence, and greater work performance. Taken together, these results demonstrate the impact of antecedent-focused strategies on the late-stage consequences of social stress.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 11/2007; 93(4):651-66. DOI:10.1037/0022-3514.93.4.651 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    • "This may indicate persistent activation of the sympathetic system that may ultimately lead to habituation, which could explain the low vasoreactivity in right hemisphere of patients with OI. Indeed, right hemisphere damage in children result from repeated psychological trauma (stress) during development, and they lose critical social skills of human bonding, in which the right hemisphere plays a critical role (Henry, 1997; Wittling, 1997). Alternatively, the marked decrease in the rSO 2 in the right hemisphere may lead to suppression of right hemispheric function, resulting in autonomic dysfunction by dysregulation of the sympathetic nervous system. "
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