Don't Let the Recession Overwhelm Your Staff

Give employees whatever reassurance you can so they'll stay focused on the most important issues

In a recent column in The New York Times, Dr. Gregory Berns explained his fascinating work using brain-scanning technologies to understand how we make decisions. He detailed one experiment in which he placed research subjects in an MRI scanner and administered a moderate electric shock to test the brain's fear system. The key to the experiment, he wrote, was that subjects had to wait for the shock—and he varied both the strength of the shock and the length of the wait. He noted that in some subjects, the parts of the brain associated with processing pain lit up well in advance of the actual shock. His interpretation of the results? "Worrying eats up a lot of brain processing power that makes other mental tasks more difficult."

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