Our speaker, Ian Robertson, is Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and is founding director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. His current research interests are in the neuropsychology of attention and awareness, cognitive genomics of attention, and neurorehabilitation. Ian has addressed us on two previous occasions in 2006 and 2013, and is an excellent presenter.
N.B. Please note change from usual day of the week. This is to avoid a clash with the Ireland Italy game on the Wednesday!
Ian forwarded the abstract below:
Stress can make you emotionally stronger and mentally sharper – that is the discovery I made when I set out to make sense of my 30 years of research. We have all heard the expression “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” and the remarkable fact is that this is true, within limits. This book explains what these limits are and comes up with a dizzying conclusion about emotional resilience – too little stress can be as bad for you as too much stress.
Stress acts like a drug that changes the chemistry of our brains, but like many drugs, it only works at the right dose – too little or too much, disrupts the brain. There is a ‘sweet spot’ of stress that “ups our game” not only emotionally, but also in terms of memory and focus.
Older people who suffer certain types of stress, for instance, end up mentally sharper than those who don’t experience stress and children and teenagers who face moderate adversity in their lives end up much more emotionally robust than those who do not.
But using stress for positive ends hangs on how we think about it and this lecture and its partner book unravels the fascinating scientific and personal tale of how our minds can harness pressure to make us stronger and sharper.