glucocorticoids; stress; confidence judgments; other-regarding behavior; field experiments
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Strasser Alina, Xin Lijing, Gruetter Rolf, Sandi Carmen (2019), Nucleus accumbens neurochemistry in human anxiety: A 7 T 1H-MRS study, in European Neuropsychopharmacology
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Goette Lorenz, BendahanSamuel, ThoresenJohn, HollisFiona, SandiCarmen (2015), Stress pulls us apart: anxiety leads to differences in competitive confidence under stress, in Psychoneuroendocrinology
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Stress is a pervasive phenomenon in modern societies and it can have deep consequences for the lives of individuals and for society as a whole. Stress has been shown to have complex effects on cognitive function in animals and humans, as well as in social behaviors in animals. Yet almost nothing is known about the effect of stress on human social behavior -including social economic decision making- apart from first pioneering explorations (von Dawans et al., 2012) and our pilot project, described in more detail below. We hypothesize that stress affects social economic decision-making behaviors, and we focus here on its effects on confidence judgments and other-regarding behavior. We also hypothesize that stress effects on social behaviors are dependent upon group boundaries. We hypothesize that the factors stress intensity, its nature and duration are essential when defining stress effects in social behaviors. In addition, we hypothesize that stress effects are related to individual differences in gender, in the activation of physiological responses, and/or in personality traits and other structural variables inherent to the subjects.Thus, we aim to achieve a comprehensive understanding of how stress affects social economic decision making; more specifically, interpersonal judgments and other-regarding behavior. We aim to develop an integrative view of stress effects in interpersonal judgments and other-regarding behaviors that reflects stress effects across different factors and dimensions, namely stress intensity, stress nature (physical vs. psychosocial) and duration (acute vs. repeated or chronic). We will address these goals using interdisciplinary methods from physiology, endocrinology and economics, with protocols varying from lab experiments to quasi-randomized field experiments. First, we will develop the necessary stress-induction experimental procedures and subsequently investigate their impact and that of a naturally occurring stress condition (survival training in the Swiss Army) in a selection of social economic games selected and designed for their relevance to measure confidence and other-regarding behavior. Under naturalistic conditions, we will also investigate how group boundaries modulate the impact of stress in social and anti-social behaviors. In parallel, we aim at investigating the role of individual differences (related to gender, personality traits, and hormonal responsiveness) in the impact of stress in the social economic behaviors under study.We expect to obtain key information to better understand how social economic decision-making is influenced by stress. More broadly, our findings will unveil factors and conditions affecting social behaviors in humans that will allow us to identify relevant scenarios to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms translating stress effects in follow up studies. They will also provide guidelines for theoretical modeling in Economics, with potential important consequences in models of optimal management of organizations. Furthermore, our results will provide essential knowledge regarding the impact of different stress factors on behavior and, consequently, a better understanding of how stress can be managed.