Dr. Brown received her PhD in social psychology from Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Stony Brook Medical School. Dr. Brown uses a variety of biomarkers to test whether and how helping behavior in humans emerges from neural circuits that evolved to motivate parenting behavior. Her studies increase understanding of how neural circuits that support parenting behavior promote mental health and protect individuals against disease.
Dr. Brown will present: Is it safe to help? Perceived familiarity with the recipient alters the neural, hormonal, and immunological consequences of helping behavior. Here is a sneak preview: Two studies tested the neurological, hormonal, and immunological effects of helping behavior. Results of these tests showed that the physiological consequences of helping behavior depend on the nature of the relationship between the helper and recipient. When individuals helped someone they cared about, helpers showed a pattern of neural responses that resemble the neural responses associated with parenting behavior, and they displayed a hormonal profile that down-regulated transforming growth factor–beta (TgF-B), a molecule that turns on disease states in the brain.