General News Research — 22 January 2014

A University of Tasmania researcher is examining why men and women may process emotions differently.

The School of Psychology is searching for volunteers to participate in the study aimed at understanding mood, hormones and emotional regulation of the genders.

Researcher Bethany Lusk says little is known about the subject.

“Females are twice as likely as males to develop things like anxiety disorders, but we don’t actually know why it is females are developing disorders at a greater rate than males,” she said.bigstock_senior_couple_in_love_at_the_p_20377307

“So this research is looking at some of the reasons that may explain that difference.

“We’re also looking at emotion regulation strategy; so is it that males and females have differences in how they regulate themselves to different emotional experiences they encounter?”

Ms Lusk, a registered psychologist, wants to record the brain activity of participants aged 18 to 40 during a two-hour questionnaire and computer-based test at the university’s Sandy Bay campus.

Participants have to meet certain physical criteria and have no history of serious head injury, or mental or hormonal disorders.

“We’re looking for participants…who do not have phobias to certain experiences as some of the images we’ll be presenting are unpleasant, because to really get into emotional processing we didn’t want to be sugar-coating experiences.”

“So we’ve got quite extreme pleasant and quite extreme unpleasant images that participants will view.”

Saliva samples will also be taken.

“We’ll be examining progesterone and oestrogen levels and having a look at whether that’s impacted on people’s brain activity.”

This article first appeared on ‘The West Australian’ on 21 January 2014.


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