Decision-making under Stress
A new review based on a research shows that acute stress affects the way the brain considersthe advantages and disadvantages, causing it to focus on pleasure and ignore the possible negative(负面的) consequences of a decision.
The research suggests that stress may change the way people make choices in predictableways.
"Stress affects how people learn," says Professor Mara Mather. "People learn better aboutpositive than negative outcomes under stress. "
For example, two recent studies looked at how people learned to connect images(影像) witheither rewards or punishments. In one experiment, some of the participants were first stressed byhaving to give a speech and do difficult math problems in front of an audience; in the other, somewere stressed by having to keep their hands in ice water. In both cases, the stressed participantsremembered the rewarded material more accurately and the punished material less accurately thanthose who hadn't gone through the stress.
This phenomenon is likely not surprising to anyone who has tried to resist eating cookies orsmoking a cigarette while under stress--at those moments, only the pleasure associated with suchactivities comes to mind. But the findings further suggest that stress may bring about a doubleeffect. Not only are rewarding experiences remembered better, but negative consequences arealso less easily recalled.
The research also found that stress appears to affect decision-making differently in men andwomen. While both men and women tend to focus on rewards and less on consequences understress, their responses to risk turn out to be different.
Men who had been stressed by the cold-water task tended to take more risks in theexperiment while women responded in the opposite way. In stressful situations in whichrisk-taking can pay off big, men may tend to do better; when caution weighs more, however,women will win.
This tendency to slow down and become more cautious when decisions are risky might alschelp explain why women are less likely to become addicted than men:they may more often avoidmaking the risky choices that eventually harden into addiction.
64. We can learn from the passage that people under pressure tend to_______.
A. keep rewards better in their memory B. recall consequences more effortlessly
C. make risky decisions more frequently D. learn a subject more effectively
65. According to the research, stress affects people most probably in their_______.
A. ways of making choices B. preference for pleasure
C. tolerance of punishments D. responses to suggestions
66. The research has proved that in a stressful situation,_______.
A. women find it easier to fall into certain habits
B. men have a greater tendency to slow down
C. women focus more on outcomes
D. men are more likely to take risks
"In wilderness(荒野) is the preservation of the word. " This is a famous saying from a writerregarded as one of the fathers of environmentalism. The frequency with which it is borrowedmirrors a heated debate on environmental protection:whether to place wilderness at the heart ofwhat is to be preserved.
As John Sauven of Greenpeace UK points out, there is a strong appeal in images of the wild,the untouched; more than anything else, they speak of the nature that many people value mostdearly. The urge to leave the subject of such images untouched is strong, and the dangerexploitation(开发) brings to such landscapes(景观) is real. Some of these wildernesses alsoperform functions that humans need-the rainforests, for example, store carbon in vastquantities. To Mr. Sauven, these "ecosystem services" far outweigh the gains from exploitation.
Lee Lane, a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, takes the opposing view. Heacknowledges that wildernesses do provide useful services, such as water conservation. But thatis not, he argues, a reason to avoid all human presence, or indeed commercial and industrialexploitation. There are ever more people on the Earth, and they reasonably and rightfully wantto have better lives, rather than merely struggle for survival. While the ways of using resourceshave improved, there is still a growing need for raw materials, and some wildernesses containthem in abundance. If they can be tapped without reducing the services those wildernessesprovide, the argument goes, there is no further reason not to do so. Being untouched is not, initself, a characteristic worth valuing above all others.