Andy’s Quick Hits (12): Predicting a Resilient Brain Through Your Eyes

Andy Hab
2 min readMay 31, 2021

Do you want to know if you have a resilient brain, or if anybody else has? This has been difficult to predict with some people seemingly taking stressful and potentially traumatic experiences in their stride, and others falling to anxiety, distress, and more severe symptoms such as burnout.

Well, it may be simpler than many have assumed according to particularly impressive recent research out of the University of Zurich (Grueschow et al.) and published in nature.

The researchers collected brain scan (fMRI) and pupillometry data of medical interns on an emotional-conflict task before they went though a stressful emergency room internship.

What did they find?

A region deep in the brain known as the locus coeruleus was strongly correlated with anxiety responses and subsequent stress including depressive symptoms post internship. The locus coeruleus has also been recently shown to be strongly associated to attention and conflict monitoring.

Locus Coeruleus responsivity is a robust and reliable biomarker for stress resilience

But more interesting to us is that pupil dilation is strongly associated with locus coeruleus sensitivity and this may be an…



Andy Hab

Sharing fascinating, fun, and important knowledge on the brain and human behaviour - most days. And masters track athlete - still going strong!