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Verhoeven J.E.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Oppen P.,VU University Amsterdam | Puterman E.,University of California at San Francisco | Elzinga B.,Leiden University | And 2 more authors.
Psychosomatic Medicine | Year: 2015

Objectives: Chronic exposure to psychosocial stressors is related to worse somatic health. This association applies both to stressors early in life, such as childhood adversities, and more recent life stress, such as stressful life events. This study examined whether accelerated telomere shortening, as an indicator of cellular aging, might be an explanatory mechanism. Methods:We examinedwhether childhood adversities and recent stressful life events were associatedwith shorter telomeres in 2936 participants (mean [standard deviation] age = 41.8 [13.1] years, 66% women, 57% current depression) of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. Telomeres are specialized nucleic acid-protein complexes at the ends of linear DNA that shorten with age; telomere length (TL) was measured with quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Results: Childhood life events (β = .004, p = .805) and childhood trauma (β = .023, p = .205) were not related to shorter TL. However, we found negative associations between recent stressful life events and TL. Persons had shorter telomeres if they reported more stressful life events in the past year (β = .039, p = .028) and 1 to 5 years ago (β = .042, p = .018, adjusted for sociodemographics). The relationship between stressful life events and TL became borderline significant when further adjusted for smoking status. No associations with TL were found when stressful life events occurred more than 6 years ago (p < .10). Conclusions: Results show that recent stressful life events are associated with shorter TL. This association is not observed for psychosocial stressors that occur earlier in life.Whether these results are indicative of physiological resiliency remains to be explored by future longitudinal research. Copyright © 2015 by the American Psychosomatic Society. Source

van Peer J.M.,Leiden University | Spinhoven P.,Leiden University | Roelofs K.,Leiden University | Roelofs K.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2010

The stress hormone cortisol is important for the regulation of social motivational processes. High cortisol levels have been associated with social fear and avoidance, which play an important role in social anxiety disorder (SAD), as does hypervigilant processing of social threat. However, causal effects of cortisol on threat processing in SAD remain unclear. In an event-related potential (ERP) study we investigated the effects of cortisol on task-irrelevant (implicit) processing of social threat in SAD, exploring the temporal dynamics as well as the role of symptom severity and stimulus awareness. Angry face processing was measured in participants with clinical SAD after double-blind, within-subject oral administration of cortisol (50 mg) and placebo, using a masked and an unmasked emotional Stroop task. Both tasks showed significantly increased P2 midline ERP amplitudes for angry compared to neutral and happy faces in the placebo condition, reflecting an early attentional bias for social threat in SAD. Furthermore, cortisol administration significantly decreased P2 amplitudes for masked angry faces. This effect correlated with social anxiety, showing stronger decreases in patients with higher levels of social anxiety. These results indicate a highly specific effect of cortisol on early motivated attention to social threat and, together with previous findings, highlight the importance of motivational context (stimulus- or task-relevance) as well as symptom severity. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Schel M.A.,Leiden University | Schel M.A.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC | Ridderinkhof K.R.,University of Amsterdam | Crone E.A.,Leiden University | Crone E.A.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Choosing not to act, or the ability to intentionally inhibit your actions lies at the core of self-control. Even though most research has focused on externally primed inhibition, an important question concerns how intentional inhibition develops. Therefore, in the present study children (aged 10-12) and adults (aged 18-26) performed the marble task, in which they had to choose between acting on and inhibiting a prepotent response, while fMRI data were collected. Intentional inhibition was associated with activation of the fronto-basal ganglia network. Activation in the subthalamic nucleus and dorsal fronto-median cortex, regions which have previously been associated with intentional inhibition, did not differ between intentional inhibition and intentional action. Even though both children and adults intentionally inhibited their actions to a similar extent, children showed more activation in the fronto-basal ganglia network during intentional inhibition, but not in the subthalamic nucleus and dorsal fronto-median cortex. Furthermore, a positive relation between self-reported impulsivity and intentional inhibition was observed. These findings have important implications for our understanding of disorders of impulsivity, such as ADHD, which are associated with poor self-control abilities. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Source

Timmer K.,Leiden University | Timmer K.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC | Schiller N.O.,Leiden University | Schiller N.O.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC
Brain Research | Year: 2012

This study investigated the role of orthographic and phonological information in reading aloud. Dutch-English bilinguals (L2) and native English (L1) participants read aloud English words. The contribution of orthographic and phonological activation was distinguished with prime manipulation. Phonological overlap, but not orthographic overlap, facilitated the response latencies for both English L1 and L2 speakers. In contrast, event-related brain potentials also revealed orthographic priming for both groups. Altogether, the present results demonstrate that late L2 speakers exhibit a Masked Onset Priming Effect similar to that of native speakers. In addition, the ERP results revealed that orthographic information is activated earlier during reading, but is not detectable anymore at the behavioral response level when the task is reading aloud. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Schel M.A.,Leiden University | Schel M.A.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC | Scheres A.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Crone E.A.,Leiden University | Crone E.A.,Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition LIBC
Neuropsychologia | Year: 2014

The ability to exert self-control over one[U+05F3]s thoughts and actions is crucial for successful functioning in daily life. To date, self-control development has been primarily studied from the perspective of externally driven inhibition. In this review, we introduce a new perspective on the development of self-control by highlighting the importance of intentional inhibition. First, we will review the existing behavioral and neuroscientific literature on the development of self-control from the perspective of externally driven inhibition. Next, we will introduce a new framework for studying the development of self-control from the perspective of intentional inhibition. We will discuss several recent studies in this domain, showing that intentional inhibition within cold contexts has an early development, but continues to develop through adolescence in motivational contexts. We conclude that understanding the developmental trajectory of intentional inhibition in cold and motivationally relevant contexts and its underlying mechanisms is an important direction for future research, which has important implications for our understanding of developmental disorders associated with problems in self-control, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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