Somehow the concept of making things happen and certain characteristics of resilience are intertwined for me. A short review of the literature suggests we are looking at the neural circuitry of fear and reward when talking about resilience. Of those areas, certain parts like the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) overlap some areas I study in empathy erosion and notions of morality. This may seem counter intuitive, but as Feder et al. report in their paper Psychobiology and molecular genetics of resilience, ”greater capacity for emotion regulation has also been related to stress resilience”. Here’s more:
The functional capacity of the brain structures that are involved in the integrated circuits that mediate mood and emotion determines stress resilience, and is in turn reflected in an individual’s psychological make-up. More adaptive functioning of fear, reward, emotion regulation or social-behaviour circuits is thought to underlie a resilient individual’s capacity to face fears, experience positive emotions, search for positive ways to reframe stressful events and derive benefit from supportive friendships. Thus, resilience is an active process, not just the absence of pathology, and it can be promoted by enhancing protective factors. [via]
So when I’m thinking about the participants I may test (in this case: sadists), I’m also wondering about the other types of emotional regulation that share the same circuitry- maybe be something there, maybe not. I like to dig around.
I’m told to get ready for some trouble with this study where I’m at now, but I’m still gonna try to make it happen.