This week, UBC Psychiatry Professor Dr. Adele Diamond is featured in the Faculty of Medicine News, where she discusses her recent study published in Cerebral Cortex that reveals the harmful impact of stress on our executive functions such as self-control, focused attention, working memory and problem solving.
The research, led by Diamond Lab members Shahab Zareyan and Haolu Zhang, found that when study subjects (140 young adults) were placed under mild social evaluative stress while performing cognitive tests, including Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices which assesses reasoning (arguably a higher-order executive function skill), the team observed notable impairment to their subjects’ executive functions. Interestingly, other studies have shown that, when placed under stress, a subset of people with a specific form of a gene will show an improvement in executive function, however Dr. Diamond emphasizes that this positive effect occurs only if the stress is extremely mild. Her most recent findings show that, for most of us, we need reduce our stress to perform our best.
More news on Dr. Adele Diamond:
Paoletti, P. & Diamond, A. (2020). The science of education for peace: Tools to sow peace in and around us [24-page Booklet]. Assisi, Italy: Fondazione Patrizio Paoletti.
Diamond, A. (2020). Executive functions. In J.L. Michaud, C. Bulteau, D. Cohen, & A. Gallagher (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 173, 225-240. Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN:978-0444641502
Ling, D. S., Wong, C. D., & Diamond, A. (in press, 2020). Children only 3 years old can succeed at conditional “if, then” reasoning much earlier than anyone had thought possible. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Psychology, xx. (Special section on Psychology and Neuropsychology of Perception, Action, and Cognition in Early Life) doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.571891 [Epub 24 Nov. 2020 ahead of print].