Desmond D Mascarenhas
Emerging links between lifestyle stress, psychological traits and the economy are explored by highlighting recent work in which stress has been shown to trigger enduring changes in neural cell metabolism via epigenetic mechanisms. One important target of such changes is the circuitry of the medial prefrontal cortex, which has been implicated in abstract construal, theory of mind functions, agency and other psychometric constructs associated with innovation and entrepreneurship. In an economy increasingly dependent on such psychological traits for its competitiveness our understanding of the impacts of stress on cognition and affect may be especially relevant to future prosperity. One recent approach to designing a pathway-based intervention for epigenetic dysfunction triggered by stress is discussed as an example.