Sarina Saturn - SoC talk

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Transcript of Sarina Saturn - SoC talk

  • The biology influencing individual differences in

    social and emotional processing

    Sarina Rodrigues Saturn, PhD Assistant Professor

    School of Psychological Science Oregon State University

  • A little bit about me:

    Sarina Saturn

    The scientist formally known as Sarina Rodrigues

    1993: Entered neuroendocrinology research at OHSU

    2003: Completed PhD in Neuroscience at NYU: Joseph LeDoux

    2005: Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford: Robert Sapolsky

    2007: Postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley: Dacher Keltner

    2009: Assistant Professor at Oregon State University

  • Acknowledgements

    My amazing collaborators, especially:

    Laura Saslow PhD @ UCSF

    Dacher Keltner, PhD @ UC Berkeley

    Walter Piper & Jillian Garrison @ OSU

    The organizers and sponsors of this amazing conference!

    Funding:

  • Emotions

  • Stress Response Raw, primal, and amazingly strong

    Hardwired universal survival mechanism

    Similar brain circuitry across many species

  • LeDoux, 1994

  • Rodrigues, LeDoux, & Sapolsky (2009) Annual Review of Neuroscience

  • Stress and the

    Body

  • Stress and the Brain

    Rodrigues, LeDoux, & Sapolsky (2009) Annual Review of Neuroscience

  • Oxytocin has potent physiological anti-stress effects:

    modulate stress hormone levels

    inhibiting cardiovascular responses to stress

    lowering amygdala responses to emotional stimuli

  • Prosociality: voluntary behavior intended to benefit another, such as helping, sharing, and comforting Dr. Nancy Eisenberg (1982)

    Raw, primal, and amazingly strong

    Hardwired universal survival mechanism

    Similiar brain circuitry across many species

  • Oxytocin and Prosocial Behavior

    Oxytocin supports affiliative behavior in a variety of species

    pair-bond formation

    parental care

    Dr. C. Sue Carter and others

  • In humans, intra-nasal administration of oxytocin increases:

    generosity

    trust

    eye gaze

    ability to infer the affective mental state of others

    Natural oxytocin levels relate to:

    parent-child bonding behaviors

    feelings of romantic love and trust

    empathy and subsequent generosity towards strangers

    Oxytocin and Prosocial Behavior

  • The social engagement system is intimately related to stress reactivity.

    The anatomical structures involved in the social engagement system have neurophysiological interactions with the stress and oxytocin systems.

    Dr. Stephen Porges (2001)

    Oxytocin and the Vagus Nerve

  • Vagus nerve and witnessing compassionate acts

    Walter Piper

    Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) is an index of vagus/parasympathetic activity

  • This world would be VERY boring if we all looked, acted, and felt the same!

  • What causes individual differences in social and emotional profiles?

    Life experiences

    Environment

    Culture

    Society

    Inborn tendencies

    *genetic variations

  • Polymorphisms many forms

  • Polymorphisms affect our brain chemistry

  • Oxytocin Receptor

    Distributed throughout the body and the brain:

    heart

    hypothalamus, amygdala

    medullary structures regulating vagal control of the heart

    regions of the spinal cord that regulate the autonomic nervous system, especially the parasympathetic branch

  • Polymorphisms

    Serotonin system

    Depression, negative emotions

    Dopamine system

    Reward seeking, addictive behaviors

  • How is a polymorphism (rs53576) of the oxytocin receptor related to stress reactivity?

  • Stress Reactivity: Physiological

    Startle paradigm: white noise bursts presented through headphones

    Average heart rate during a fear-potentiated startle anticipation task (vs. baseline)

  • Alleles

    An allele is one of two or more forms of a gene or a genetic locus (generally a group of genes)

  • Stress Reactivity: Startle Anticipation Heart Rate

    Rodrigues et al. (2009) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

  • Stress Reactivity Scale

    We used items that measure negative-emotion reactivity in stressful situations, emergencies, and crises, rather than baseline negative affect. This unidimensional scale measures a general factor of stress reactivity.

    Measure Pearson Correlation **

  • Stress Reactivity: Dispositional

    Rodrigues et al. (2009) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

  • How does the same genetic variation influence empathy?

  • Empathy Refers to the ability to

    understand and experience what others are feeling while maintaining

    self-other differentiation

  • Davis: Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)

    A well-validated self-report scale that reflects the

    core facets of other-oriented

    empathic behavior

  • Dimensions (subscales) of the IRI

    I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me.

    EMPATHIC CONCERN

  • Dimensions (subscales) of the IRI

    PERSPECTIVE TAKING

    I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things would look from their perspective

  • Rodrigues et al. (2009) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

    Interpersonal Reactivity Index

  • Reading the Mind in the Eyes

    Simon Baron-Cohen

    Performance enhanced in non-clinical populations after oxytocin administration (Domes et al., 2007)

    Performance negatively associated with autism

  • Reading the Mind in the Eyes

    Rodrigues et al. (2009) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

  • Implications

    Empathy and stress reactivity are on opposing ends of a

    neurobiological continuum: OXYTOCIN

  • Strangers viewed 20-sec video clips of someone listening to their romantic partner talk about a time of suffering

    Evaluated nonverbal compassionate cues

    Eye contact

    Leaning

    Nodding

    Smiles

    Arm posture

    Kogan et al. (2011) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

  • GGs rated more prosocial by strangers (>AAs/AGs)

    Kogan et al. (2011) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

  • Implications

    Genetic variability in the oxytocin system may contribute to individual differences in complex human social and emotional behaviors

  • We have also found that this same oxytocin receptor polymorphism relates to:

    Social Dominance Orientation: Measures to what degree a person endorses and desires group-based hierarches

    Liberalism / Conservatism

    Openness to Experience

    Spirituality

  • Others have found that this same oxytocin receptor polymorphism relates to:

    Differential structure and function of emotional brain regions

    More sensitive parenting

    Lower risk for autism spectrum disorders

    ..more!

    Tost et al., 2010; Bakermans-Kranenburg & van Ijzendoorn, 2008; Tops et al., 2011; Norman et al., 2012; Wu et al., 2005; Wertmer, et al., 2009

  • Implications

  • Implications It is important to understand that everyone has unique

    obstacles to achieving inner-peace and sociality

  • Implications

    EVERYONE can fight the damaging effects of stress on the brain and the body by developing social connectedness

  • Oxytocin has been shown to:

    Robustly modulate the stress response

    Boost prosociality

  • How can we get more oxytocin?!?

  • How can we get more oxytocin?!?

    Nowe dont have any in our pockets to pass out to you

    Dangers of artificial oxytocin administration:

    Envy

    Gloating

    Ethnocentrism

    Out-group hate

    Epigenetic modifications

  • How can we get more oxytocin?!?

    Social bonds (family, friends, partners, strangers, pets)

    Feeling love and trust

    Physical contact (massage, hugs, spooning, intimacy)

  • Cultivate compassion and love for others Be compassionate and loving

    towards others spreads the oxytocin around

    Being good to others is also good for you!

  • Cultivate compassion and love for yourself Self-compassion relates to:

    Lower stress and depression

    Better coping and stress regulation*

    Better health*

    Better sleep*

    More prosocial traits*

    Dr. Kristin Neff

    Jillian Garrison

  • Cultivating compassion for others and yourself will lead to a more prosocial

    and healthier society

    Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

    -Pema Chodron