Joseph LeDoux Biography
Joseph E. LeDoux was a neuroscientist that used animal research to understand the pathological fear and anxiety in humans, which is linked to fear conditioning and PTSD.
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JOSEPH E. LEDOUX
Joseph E. LeDoux (born 1949) is a neuroscientist, the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, and professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University. He is also the director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety, a multi-university Center in New York City devoted to using animal research to understand pathological fear and anxiety in humans. He received his Ph.D. in 1977 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a recipient of the 2005 International Prize of the Fyssen Foundation.
JOSEPH LEDOUX AND HIS RESEARCH ON FEAR CONDITIONING
Joseph E. LeDoux finds two amygdala pathways in the brain of the laboratory mouse by the use of fear conditioning and lesion study. He names them the "high road" and "low road". The low road is a pathway which is able to transmit a signal from a stimulus to the thalamus, and then to the amygdala, which then activates a fear-response in the body. This sequence works without a conscious experience of what comprises the stimulus, and it is the fast way to a bodily response. The highroad is activated simultaneously. This is a slower road which also includes the cortical parts of the brain, thus creating a conscious impression of what the stimulus is. The low road only involves the sub-cortical part of the brain and is therefore regarded as a more primitive mechanism of defense, only existing in its separate form in lesser developed animals who have not developed the more complex part of the brain. In more developed animals, the high road and the low road work simultaneously to provide both fear-response and perceptual feedback.
Fear conditioning is thought to depend upon an area of the brain called the amygdala. Ablation or deactivating of the amygdala can prevent both the learning and expression of fear. Some types of fear conditioning (e.g. contextual and trace) also involve the hippocampus, an area of the brain believed to receive affective impulses from the amygdala and to integrate those impulses with previously existing information to make it meaningful. Some theoretical accounts of traumatic experiences suggest that amygdala-based fear bypasses the hippocampus during intense stress and can be stored somatically or as images that can return as physical symptoms or flashbacks without cognitive meaning. A number of theorists have argued that conditioned fear coincides substantially with the mechanisms, both functional and neural, of clinical anxiety disorders. Research into the acquisition, consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear promises to inform new drug based and psychotherapeutic treatments for an array of pathological conditions such as dissociation, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Posttraumatic stress disorder[note 1] (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen acute stress response. Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal—such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance. Formal diagnostic criteria (both DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10) require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder, characterized by aversive anxiety-related experiences, behaviors, and physiological responses that develop after exposure to a psychologically traumatic event (sometimes months after). Its features persist for longer than 30 days, which distinguishes it from the briefer acute stress disorder. These persisting posttraumatic stress symptoms cause significant disruptions of one or more important areas of life function. It has three sub-forms: acute, chronic, and delayed-onset.
PTSD is believed to be caused by experiencing any of a wide range of events which produces intense negative feelings of "fear, helplessness or horror" in the observer or participant. Sources of such feelings may include (but are not limited to):
experiencing or witnessing childhood or adult physical, emotional, or sexual abuse;
experiencing or witnessing physical assault, adult experiences of sexual assault, accidents, drug addiction, illnesses, medical complications;
employment in occupations exposed to war (such as soldiers) or disaster (such as emergency service workers);
getting a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
Children or adults may develop PTSD symptoms by experiencing bullying or mobbing. Approximately 25% of children exposed to family violence can experience PTSD. Preliminary research suggests that child abuse may interact with mutations in a stress-related gene to increase the risk of PTSD in adults.
Multiple studies show that parental PTSD and other posttraumatic disturbances in parental psychological functioning can, despite a traumatized parent's best efforts, interfere with their response to their child as well as their child's response to trauma. Parents with violence-related PTSD may, for example, inadvertently expose their children to developmentally inappropriate violent media due to their need to manage their own emotional dysregulation. Clinical findings indicate that a failure to provide adequate treatment to children after they suffer a traumatic experience, depending on their vulnerability and the severity of the trauma, will ultimately lead to PTSD symptoms in adulthood.
Mobbing in the context of human beings means bullying of an individual by a group in any context. Identified as emotional abuse in the workplace, such as "ganging up" by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation, it is also referred to as malicious, nonsexual, nonracial, general harassment.
Mobbing can take place in any group environment such as a workplace, neighbourhood or family.
Development of the Concept
Konrad Lorenz, in his book entitled On Aggression (1966), first described mobbing among birds and animals, attributing it to instincts rooted in the Darwinian struggle to survive (see animal mobbing behavior). In his view, we humans are subject to similar innate impulses but capable of bringing them under rational control.
In the 1970s, the Swedish physician Peter-Paul Heinemann applied Lorenz's conceptualization to the collective aggression of children against a targeted child.
In the 1980s, professor and practising psychologist, Heinz Leymann applied the term to ganging up in the workplace. Leymann noted that one of the possible side-effects of mobbing is post-traumatic stress disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. After making this discovery he successfully treated thousands of mobbing victims at his clinic in Sweden.
Mobbing in the workplace and Workplace bullying
UK anti-bully pioneers Andrea Adams and Tim Field used the expression workplace bullying instead of what Leymann called "mobbing" in a workplace context.
In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as "...an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace."
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target".
EFFECTS OF BULLYING ON THOSE TARGETED
The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. It is still a greatly unresearched area.
The link between bullying and school violence has attracted increasing attention since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. That year, two shotgun-wielding students, both of whom had been identified as gifted and who had been bullied for years, killed 13 people, wounded 24, and then committed suicide. A year later an analysis by officials at the U.S. Secret Service of 37 premeditated school shootings found that bullying, which some of the shooters described "in terms that approached torment," played a major role in more than two-thirds of the attacks. It is estimated that about 60-80% of children are bullied at school. Since bullying is mostly ignored, it may provide an important clue in crowd behaviour and passer-by behaviour. Numerous psychologists have been puzzled by the inactivity of crowds in urban centres when crimes occur in crowded places. Many have suggested bullying as one of the reason of this decline in emotional sensitivity and acceptance of violence as normal. When someone is bullied, it is not only the bully and victim who are becoming less sensitive to violence. In most cases, the friends and classmates of the bully and the victim accept the violence as normal.
In a landmark study, 432 gifted students in 11 states of USA were studied for bullying. More than two-thirds of academically talented eighth-graders say they have been bullied at school and nearly one-third harboured violent thoughts as a result.
Mona O’Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College in Dublin, has written, "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide." Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness. In the long term it can lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and an inability to form relationships - even leading to celibacy.
The National Conference of State Legislatures said:
"In 2002, a report released by the U.S. Secret Service concluded that bullying played a significant role in many school shootings and that efforts should be made to eliminate bullying behavior."
There is evidence that bullying increases the risk of suicide. Bullying leads to several suicides every year. It is estimated that between 15 and 25 children commit suicide every year in the UK alone, because they are being bullied.
Among the cases of media bullying suicides following: Ryan Halligen, Phoebe Prince, Dawn-Marie Wesley, Kelly Yeomans, Jessica Haffer, Hamed Nastoh, or April Himes.
Cyber-bullying is any bullying done through the use of technology. This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyber bullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, social networking sites, etc.