Stress in the City

A new study looks at how growing up and living in cities can affect how people process stress.

In this post from Per Square Mile, Tim De Chant reviews the paper.

"The paper is the first of its kind, merely lifting the corner of a page in what is likely to be a huge tome of neuroscientific discoveries on how urban life affects the development of our brains and how we react to the populous world around us. The study's sample size is somewhat limited, but the results are statistical home runs. And like many pioneering studies, it raises many more questions than it answers.

The Germany-based researchers started by administering a difficult math test to 34 college students. While the students were taking the test, the researchers harangued them about their substandard score or slow progress to stimulate social stress. All the while, functional magnetic resonance imaging machines (fMRI) scanned the students' brains, recording their activity. After the test and scans were completed, the researchers weighed the students' patterns of brain activity against their place of upbringing-big city, small town, or rural area. Subjects who were raised in the city exhibited higher levels of activity in their amygdala, a region of the brain which processes emotion, and cingulate cortex, an area which regulates the amygdala. The results were so powerful that the scientists conducted a follow up experiment to be doubly certain. That study confirmed the findings of the first."

Full Story: This is your brain in the city

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95