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We're getting stressed just looking at this.
Honking cars, creaking buses, loitering kids, slow-walking tourists -- living in a city can be the worst. Now, a new study shows that native city dwellers -- as in, those who were raised in urban areas -- react more strongly to stress than their country-living peers, the Associated Press reports. More specifically (and somewhat hilariously), city folks appear to react more strongly to stress caused by other people.
The study, done by scientists at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, was just published in the journal Nature. Here are the basics of what the researchers did: Thirty-two volunteers were put in brain scanners, where they were instructed to solve some tough math problems -- so tough, that they bungled the answers for most of them. The erroneous answers were met with criticism from the researchers, who even went so far as to wonder aloud whether each volunteer was really cut out for a study like this. (All of this was done while the participants were still in the scanner.)
In people from the largest cities, researchers found that the amygdala -- the piece of the brain that processes emotions -- lit up with activity when the researchers chastised them. (Here, a big city was defined as one with a population of 100,000 or larger.) They couldn't say exactly why criticism fueled stronger brain reactions, but they figured it could be because of previous exposure to stress caused by other humans.
Native city dwellers, do you think you're more easily stressed than most? What about those of you from rural areas -- does it take a lot to stress you out?
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