Convergence: Connecting Levels of Analysis in Psychological Science
 In the past, our field harbored distinct, and often competing, schools of thought that tackled different problems and produced findings that often appeared to diverge. Today, investigators attack shared problems at complementary levels of analysis and produce results that converge. Studies of people in a social world; mental systems of cognition and emotion; and biological mechanisms of the genome and the nervous system interconnect and yield an integrated psychological science. The APS 23rd Annual Convention displays, and celebrates, these advances in our field.

Invited Symposium

Stress and Its Consequences: From the Brain to the Periphery and Back

Saturday, May 28, 2011, 9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Georgetown East

Richard S. Lewis Chair: Richard S. Lewis
Pomona College

Stress has been demonstrated to have wide-ranging effects on the nervous and immune systems, psychological processes, and health. This symposium will explore adaptive and maladaptive aspects of acute and chronic stress from multiple perspectives. Some of the leading stress researchers will present their latest research on how stress affects neural activity, immune responses, and the processing of memories. Implications for mental health and treatments will also be explored.

Katarina Dedovic

Brain and Stress: Investigating Neural Correlates of Psychological Stress Processing
Katarina Dedovic
McGill University, Canada
This talk will start with a brief overview of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and will present findings from neuroimaging studies on neural correlates of psychological stress processing in populations of healthy young adults and those with vulnerability to depression. A basic framework of brain areas involved in processing psychological stressors will be presented.

David M. Diamond

A Novel Perspective on the Neurobiology of Traumatic Memories
David M. Diamond
University of South Florida
It is well known that the hippocampus is necessary for the formation of new memories. However, there is strong support for the view that in times of stress, hippocampal functioning is inhibited, thereby reducing its involvement in the formation of traumatic memories. Diamond will incorporate findings from rodent and human studies to provide an alternative interpretation of the literature. He will suggest that traumatic experiences produce a relatively brief and intense activation of the amygdala-hippocampal circuitry, which helps to explain the unique and fragmentary nature of traumatic memories. This perspective on how stress produces activation, followed by inhibition, of hippocampal functioning is potentially relevant to understanding how traumatic experiences generate powerful and long-lasting memories, as well as stress-induced amnesia.

Nicolas Rohleder

Variability in Stress System Modulation of Inflammation: A Critical Factor Mediating Stress Effects on Health
Nicolas Rohleder
Brandeis University
Chronic stress is associated with disease, but biological pathways are not well defined. Stress systems are prime candidates, but alterations in their baseline activity are not consistently found in chronic stress. However, emerging evidence suggests that stress-related changes in the sensitivity of inflammatory pathways might explain inflammatory disinhibition and disease susceptibility.

Oliver T. Wolf

Stress and Memory in Humans
Oliver T. Wolf
Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Germany
Stress is known to influence memory. Research over the last decades has revealed that glucocorticoids released from the adrenal cortex are important mediators in this respect. Stress can have enhancing as well as impairing effects on long-term episodic memory. For example, we may forget an appointment because we are stressed at work. In contrast, we may remember a certain embarrassing moment for our entire life. The former is an example of a stress-induced retrieval impairment, while the latter is an example of enhanced memory consolidation caused by stress. However, stress not only influences the quantity of what we remember but also the quality of the memory. Recent experiments have shown that stress induces rigid habitual behavior at the expense of flexible goal-directed behavior. A better understanding of the modulatory effects of stress on human memory will enhance our understanding of stress-associated mental disorders and could provide the foundation for enhanced behavioral as well as pharmacological-treatment approaches.

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