Embarking on Discovering the Mechanisms of Resilience: Combining Language Use Analysis with Neuroscience

Embarking on Discovering the Mechanisms of Resilience: Combining Language Use Analysis with Neuroscience

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Catarina Cunha
Emotional Brain Institute, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York, USA


Novel treatments in mental health focus on one’s ability to recover and develop resilience. Current concepts are based on The Adaptations Level Theory, which describes the ability of resilient individuals to accustom to new and even downgraded conditions as the new standard, find meaning in trauma, and adapt to new social settings. However, it is not known which treatments specifically help to build up resilience in patients and how to reliably screen for it. We hypothesize that by analyzing mechanisms of behavior and physiology in resilient individuals, we will be able to strengthen these in people that are struggling to bounce back. Recent studies demonstrated that distinct patterns of language use correlated with various mental health conditions. Utilizing text samples from Holocaust survivors, we compared language use in resilient individuals to people with PTSD and the general population. The Holocaust survivors' language use was significantly different from PTSD sufferers, which suggests that we detected a possible resilience word use pattern. Next, we looked into the brain circuitry mechanisms that could be involved in resilience. We found that norepinephrine, the key neurotransmitter in stress response, modulated the activity of amygdala circuitry in a non-linear concentration-dependent manner. The shape and other characteristics of this dependency could be associated with the capacity for resilience.

Article Info

Article Type
Research Article
Publication history
Received: Mon 11, May 2020
Accepted: Wed 29, Jul 2020
Published: Thu 20, Aug 2020
© 2021 Catarina Cunha. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.
DOI: 10.31487/j.JBN.2020.01.06