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改善情绪调适和心理健康

Cultivating Emotion Regulation and Mental Health
改善情绪调适和心理健康
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2019-10-09 14:35
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改善情绪调适和心理健康

The ability to regulate our emotions is essential to reaching our goals and feeling mentally healthy. Since this is such an important topic, I was delighted to get a chance to interview Dr. Susanne Schweizer, a Sir Henry Wellcome fellow at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Schweizer studies the role of cognitive processes (e.g., emotion regulation) and their neural substrates in the development and maintenance of common mental health problems across the lifespan, with a particular focus on adolescence. Adopting a translational perspective, Dr. Schweizer applies insights from basic developmental cognitive neuroscience to design novel interventions for mental health problems including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Before moving to UCL she completed her PhD as a Gates Scholar and later postdoc at the University of Cambridge.

调节情绪的能力对于达成目标和保持心理健康至关重要。由于这是一个如此重要的话题,我很高兴有机会采访苏珊娜·施韦泽(Susanne Schweizer)教授,她是是伦敦大学学院认知神经科学研究所的亨利·韦尔科姆先生的同事。施韦泽博士研究认知过程(如情绪调节)及其神经基质在人类,尤其是青少年一生中常见心理健康问题的发展和维持中的作用。施魏策尔采用了一种转译的视角,运用基础发展认知神经科学的观点,设计了针对抑郁症和创伤后应激障碍等心理健康问题的新干预措施。在搬到伦敦大学学院之前,她修完了盖茨学者博士学位课程,之后在剑桥大学获得博士后学位。

How did you become interested in emotion regulation?

你是如何对情绪调节产生兴趣的?

My interest was sparked a decade ago. I spent a summer working with the late Professor Nolen-Hoeksema in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Part of my job was to read about emotion regulation. What I was struck by then was the pervasiveness of emotion regulation difficulties across different types of mental health problems from depression to eating disorders. This sense was brought home the following spring, which I spent completing my clinical internship on an acute closed psychiatric ward. It didn’t seem to matter what the disorder was – every form of psychopathology appeared to be accompanied by a breakdown in the ability to regulate emotions and mood. This was fascinating to me and I needed to understand what was causing these problems in emotion regulation. So I went to do a PhD with one of the world’s foremost experts on mood and emotions in mental health, Professor Tim Dalgleish at the University of Cambridge’s MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

我的兴趣是十年前开始的。我和已故的耶鲁大学(Yale University)心理学系教授诺伦-霍克西玛(Nolen-Hoeksema)一整个夏天都在一起工作。我的部分工作是阅读有关情绪调节的书籍。当时让我震惊的是,从抑郁症到饮食失调,不同类型的心理健康问题都普遍存在情绪调节困难。这种感觉在回国后还是存在,第二年春天我在一个紧急关闭的精神病病房完成了我的临床实习。这似乎与疾病无关——每种形式的精神病理似乎都伴随着情绪和情绪调节能力的崩溃。这对我来说很具吸引力,我需要了解是什么导致了情绪调节方面的问题。因此,我和剑桥大学医学研究理事会认知和脑科学部门的Tim Dalgleish教授一起读了博士。

What can the brain tell you about emotion regulation?

关于情绪调节,大脑传达出的信息是怎样的?

Just a couple of years before I started my PhD, James Gross at Stanford and Kevin Ochsner at NYU developed their influential neuroscientific account of emotion regulation. Their model proposed that successful emotion regulation relies on cognitive control. Cognitive control refers to our ability to attend to information that is relevant to our goals, while ignoring distracting information. Their reason for suggesting this was accumulating evidence from brain imaging studies, which showed that the brain regions that are recruited during cognitive control overlapped with the brain regions involved in emotion regulation. This was particularly interesting to me because we know that this cognitive control capacity is reduced in individuals who suffer from mental health problems.

就在我开始攻读博士学位的前几年,斯坦福大学(Stanford)的詹姆斯•格罗斯(James Gross)和纽约大学(NYU)的凯文•奥克斯纳(Kevin Ochsner)提出了他们颇具影响力的关于情绪调节的神经科学解释。他们的模型指出,成功的情绪调节依赖于认知控制。认知控制指的是我们关注与目标相关信息的能力,而忽略分散注意力的信息。他们提出这一观点的原因是,从大脑成像研究中积累的证据表明,在认知控制过程中被激活的大脑区域与涉及情绪调节的大脑区域重叠。这对我来说特别有趣,因为我们知道,这种认知控制能力在患有心理健康问题的人身上会减弱。

The question “How does our cognitive control capacity interact with our affective experiences?” became the focus of my work. Professor Dalgleish and I showed that when people’s ability to exert cognitive control in emotional contexts improved by training with basic computerized tasks, their ability to regulate their emotions also improved. Not only did participants report becoming better able to downregulate their distress to aversive films after our training but there were also changes in their brains. Specifically, the improved emotion regulation ability following the training was associated with changes in activation of a region of the brain called the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Previous work had shown that this region is critical to deploying cognitive control in affective contexts. Our initial work was carried out with healthy individuals but since then we have taken the training to clinical populations including posttraumatic stress disorder and showed similar benefits in emotion regulation. Based on this work I became interested in whether we could prevent emotion regulation difficulties from appearing in the first place, but to do this I needed to understand how emotion regulation develops.

“我们的认知控制能力如何与我们的情感体验相互作用?”成为我工作的重点。Dalgleish教授和我发现,当人们在情绪环境中运用认知控制的能力通过基本的计算机任务训练得到提高时,他们调节情绪的能力也得到了提高。在我们的训练之后,参与者不仅反馈他们能够更好地将他们的悲伤转化为厌恶的电影,而且他们的大脑也发生了变化。具体来说,训练后情绪调节能力的提高与大脑腹外侧前额叶皮层的激活变化有关。先前的研究表明,这一区域对于在情感环境中进行认知控制至关重要。我们最初的工作是对健康的个体进行的,但从那时起,我们开始对包括创伤后应激障碍在内的临床人群进行培训,并在情绪调节方面显示出类似的益处。基于这项工作,我开始对我们是否能在一开始就阻止情绪调节困难的出现产生兴趣,但要做到这一点,我需要了解情绪调节是如何发展的。

How does emotion regulation develop across the lifespan?

情绪调节在人的一生中是如何发展的?

There is robust evidence that emotion regulation rapidly improves during early childhood. Less is known, however, about the development of emotion regulation in adolescence and beyond. To explore this, I joined world-renown developmental cognitive neuroscientist Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and her research group who study adolescent development at University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Together we have been looking at age-related differences in the cognitive building blocks that underlie successful emotion regulation. That is, we study how adolescents and adults differ in their ability to exert cognitive control in emotional compared to neutral contexts. To study this we ask individuals to do cognitively demanding tasks, such as remembering numbers that are presented one after another in working memory. To manipulate emotional context we present these numbers over neutral or emotional background images. We found that the impact of emotional information on performance is associated with adolescents’ mental health, particularly in early adolescence (11-14 years). This means, the more difficulty adolescents have performing working memory tasks in emotional relative to neutral contexts, the more mental health difficulties they experience at an early age.

有充分的证据表明,情绪调节在儿童早期能迅速改善。然而,人们对青春期及以后情绪调节的发展知之甚少。为了探索这个问题,我加入了世界著名的发展认知神经学家萨拉-杰恩·布莱克莫尔教授和她的研究小组,他们在伦敦大学学院的认知神经科学研究所研究青少年发展。我们一起研究了与年龄相关的认知差异,这些差异构成了成功的情绪调节的基础。也就是说,我们研究了青少年和成年人在情绪环境下的认知控制能力与中性环境下的差异。为了研究这个问题,我们要求受试者完成一些需要认知能力的任务,比如记住工作记忆中一个接一个出现的数字。为了操纵情绪背景,我们在中性或情绪背景图像上呈现这些数字。我们发现情绪信息对表现的影响与青少年的心理健康有关,特别是在青少年早期(11-14岁)。这意味着,青少年在情绪环境中执行工作记忆任务的难度越大,他们在早期经历的心理健康问题就越多。

However, these cross-sectional studies don’t tell us anything about development of emotion regulation ability across time. For example, we don’t know whether these underlying abilities remain stable within an individual or improve with age. Or whether they fluctuate from day to day or even moment to moment? To study this we have developed a citizen science app – the Emotional Brain Study app.

然而,这些横断面研究并没有告诉我们任何关于情绪调节能力随时间的发展。例如,我们不知道这些潜在的能力是在个体内保持稳定还是随着年龄的增长而提高。或者它们是否每天甚至每一时刻都在波动?为了研究这一点,我们开发了一个公民科学应用程序——情绪大脑研究应用程序。

How do you study emotion regulation with a citizen science app and what is citizen science?

你如何通过公民科学应用研究情绪调节,什么是公民科学?

The idea behind citizen science is that science and science policy are made open and accessible to the public. Citizen science ensures that science remains responsive to society’s concerns and needs, and acknowledges that anyone in society can themselves produce reliable scientific knowledge. In the case of our app, we ask the general public to help us study emotion regulation development and its association with mood across the lifespan. By providing us with very basic information about themselves and playing games on the app, individuals who use the app become ‘citizen scientists’. Within the app they first record their current mood as well as what they are doing that moment in time, and they then play any one of five games. These games tap into the cognitive functions that underlie successful emotion regulation. Specifically, they test memory, attention and other complex cognitive functions in the context of emotional and neutral information. The scientific data this citizen science project creates will allow us to start modelling how the cognitive control of emotions develops across the lifespan and how it might fluctuate within individuals. This is invaluable information that will improve our understanding of the basic cognitive functions underlying successful emotion regulation and, by extension, good mental health.

公民科学背后的理念是,科学和科学政策是向公众开放和开放的。公民科学确保科学始终对社会的关注和需求作出反应,并承认社会中的任何人都可以自己产生可靠的科学知识。以我们的应用程序为例,我们请公众帮助我们研究情绪调节的发展及其与整个生命周期的情绪之间的联系。通过向我们提供关于他们自己的非常基本的信息,并在应用程序上玩游戏,使用该应用程序的个人就成为了“公民科学家”。在应用程序中,他们首先记录他们当前的情绪以及他们当时正在做什么,然后他们玩五款游戏中的任何一款。这些游戏利用了作为成功情绪调节基础的认知功能。具体来说,他们在情绪和中性信息的背景下测试记忆、注意力和其他复杂的认知功能。这个公民科学项目创造的科学数据将使我们能够开始模拟情绪的认知控制在一生中是如何发展的,以及情绪在个体中是如何波动的。这是非常宝贵的信息,可以帮助我们更好地理解成功的情绪调节背后的基本认知功能,进而促进良好的心理健康。

What can app-based research tell us that lab-based research can’t?

基于应用程序的研究能告诉我们什么而基于实验室的研究不能告诉我们什么?

From our lab-based work we know that individuals who suffer from or who are at-risk for mental health problems find playing these games harder in emotional compared to neutral contexts. However, we know very little about how these functions relate to every day mood and moment-to-moment mood fluctuations. Gathering larger scale data on the association between performance on these games and mood using our app will allow us to explore these relationships and detect potential avenues for intervention. That means we will be able to optimize our training protocols to improve emotion regulation, hopefully before people even start experiencing mental health problems related to poor emotion regulation.

想象这样一个场景:定期的数字精神健康和认知检查成为普遍的地方。症状可以记录在应用程序中,我们的应用程序中包含的游戏类型可以用来测量认知功能的变化。变化可以表明认知能力的提高或下降。在游戏中加入情感因素,我们可能会发现它们也能帮助我们发现何时我们调节情绪的能力是最佳的,或者恰恰相反,何时我们的情绪开始受到损害。我们可以开始追踪是什么提高/降低了我们的情绪调节能力。然而,为了让这些游戏实现其预后潜力,我们需要确保它们是可靠的情绪调节标记,而来自我们的情绪大脑研究应用程序的数据将帮助我们做到这一点。经常使用我们的应用程序的人越多,我们拥有的数据就越多,在探索认知、情绪调节和情绪之间的关联时,我们能够进行的数据建模和验证也就越细致。这些都是从发展认知神经科学角度研究心理健康的心理健康研究者的新领域。这些新研究的成果有望为我们现有的预防和治疗精神卫生问题的手段带来急需的改进。

How will this research help those who struggle with emotion regulation or even mental health problems?

这项研究将如何帮助那些与情绪调节甚至心理健康问题作斗争的人?

Imagine a scenario where regular digital mental health and cognition check-ups become common place. Symptoms can be recorded on apps and the types of game included in our app can be played to measure changes in cognitive functioning. Changes can indicate cognitive improvement or decline. Adding an affective dimension to the games, we may find that they can also help us discover when our abilities to regulate our emotions may be optimal or on the contrary start to become impaired. We can start tracking what improves/reduces our emotion regulation capacity. However, for these games to realize their prognostic potential we need to ensure they are reliable markers of emotion regulation and data from our Emotional Brain Study app will help us do exactly that. The more people use our app regularly, the more data we will have and the finer-grained the data modelling and validation we will be able to do when exploring the association between cognition, emotion regulation and mood across the lifespan. These are new frontiers for mental health researchers who study mental health from a developmental cognitive neuroscience perspective. Results from these new avenues of research will hopefully bring much needed improvements to our existing means of preventing and treating mental health problems.

想象这样一个场景:定期的数字精神健康和认知检查成为普遍的地方。症状可以记录在应用程序中,我们的应用程序中包含的游戏类型可以用来测量认知功能的变化。变化可以表明认知能力的提高或下降。在游戏中加入情感因素,我们可能会发现它们也能帮助我们发现何时我们调节情绪的能力是最佳的,或者恰恰相反,何时我们的情绪开始受到损害。我们可以开始追踪是什么提高/降低了我们的情绪调节能力。然而,为了让这些游戏实现其预后潜力,我们需要确保它们是可靠的情绪调节标记,而来自我们的情绪大脑研究应用程序的数据将帮助我们做到这一点。经常使用我们的应用程序的人越多,我们拥有的数据就越多,在探索认知、情绪调节和情绪之间的关联时,我们能够进行的数据建模和验证也就越细致。这些都是从发展认知神经科学角度研究心理健康的心理健康研究者的新领域。这些新研究的成果有望为我们现有的预防和治疗精神卫生问题的手段带来急需的改进。

For more, see:

更多信息,见:

情绪性大脑研究

关注twitter上的情绪性大脑研究

关注福洛瑞士博士在推特上的消息

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

所表达的观点是作者的观点,不一定是《科学美国人》的观点。

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

关于作者

Scott Barry Kaufman

史考特巴里

Scott Barry Kaufman is a psychologist at Columbia University exploring intelligence, creativity, personality, and well-being. In addition to writing the column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American, he also hosts The Psychology Podcast, and is author and/or editor of 8 books, including Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind(with Carolyn Gregoire) and Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. Find out more at http://ScottBarryKaufman.com.

斯科特·巴里·考夫曼(Scott Barry Kaufman)是哥伦比亚大学的心理学家,研究智力、创造力、个性和幸福感。除了为《科学美国人》(Scientific American)撰写专栏《美丽心灵》(Beautiful Minds)外,他还主持《心理学》(Psychology)播客,是担任8本书的作者和/编辑,其中包括《连线创造:揭开创造性思维的奥秘》(Wired to Create: elling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind)(与卡洛琳·格雷瓜尔(Carolyn Gregoire)合著)和《天才:重新定义的智力》(un: Intelligence Redefined)。更多信息请访问http://ScottBarryKaufman.com。

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