The brain of journalists works at a low level because they consume too much of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, but their love for their work helps against hard times, according to a neuroscientist Tara Swart.
The research that was conducted in conjunction with the London Press Club asked me to know how journalists survive and thrive in the midst of stress, time pressure, low wages, low work security and high levels of public oversight.
31 journalists to complete a series of tests, respond to a questionnaire and report on their dietary habits and consumption was requested.
It was found that their brain has no executive functional, which includes high levels of cognitive function such as emotional control, complex problem solving, tasks, and ability to eliminate prejudice.
These deficiencies are attributed to “dehydration, self-medication, and nourish their brain with caffeine and sugar-rich foods,” a statement from the London Press Club reported.
More than 40 percent of participants said they drink 18 or more units of alcohol (1.8 liters of pure alcohol) per week – the recommended weekly consumption of 14 units or 1.4 liters of pure alcohol. Less than five percent drank enough water.
“It is very likely that levels of caffeine/alcohol and lack of water have contributed to low-performance evaluation because of the greater influence of dehydration on cognitive abilities,” the study states.
However, all the news was horrible. It was established that journalists in the projection abstraction, the ability to detect and analyze trends and relationships that are not visible immediately. This indicates a greater possibility of “thinking outside the box and making connections where others do not see.”
In addition, most reporters said they loved their job and felt that their work was important and useful, allowing them to remain productive and resilient despite challenges (and obvious shortcomings), according to a study,
“It was great to see the role of meaning and goal of the game to achieve mental resilience,” Dr. Swart said. “I hope this study will serve as a useful tool for journalists, but for all those who want to understand how neuroscience can show us how to unite brain and body health and become psychologically stronger.”
Doug Wills, President of the London Press Club, praised the climax of the study, “how the integrity and purpose with which journalists can penetrate their work help them overcome the challenges.”
Research has also shown that older journalists are better off with stress and recover from defeat, suggesting that skills that can develop over time.
The research, which was carried out in partnership with the London Press Club, sought to figure out how journalists survive and thrive amid the stress of deadline pressure, low pay, poor job security and high levels of public scrutiny.
Thirty-one journalists were asked to carry out a series of tests, answer a questionnaire and report their eating and drinking habits.
Their brains were found to be lacking in the executive functioning department, which encompasses high-level cognitive functions such as emotional control, complex problem-solving, multi-tasking and the ability to suppress biases.
These deficiencies were attributed to “dehydration, self-medicating, and fueling their brains with caffeine and high-sugar foods,” according to a London Press Club release.
Over 40 percent of participants said they drank 18 or more units of alcohol (1.8 liters of pure alcohol) per week — the recommended weekly consumption is 14 units, or 1.4 liters of pure alcohol. Less than five percent drank enough water.
“It is likely that the levels of caffeine/alcohol and the lack of water consumed contributed to the low scores recorded for executive functioning because of the severe impact of dehydration on cognitive ability,” the study said.
However, it wasn’t all grim news. Journalists were found to excel in abstraction, the ability to detect and analyze patterns and relationships that aren’t immediately obvious. This indicates a superior capacity to “think outside of the box and make connections where others might not see them.”
Also, most of the journalists surveyed said they enjoyed their jobs and felt that their work was worthwhile and important, which enabled them to remain productive and resilient despite their challenges (and apparent shortcomings), the study says.
“It’s been great to see the role that meaning and purpose play in achieving mental resilience,” Dr. Swart said. “I hope this study serves as a useful tool to journalists, but also to anyone who wants to understand how neuroscience can show us how to join up brain and body health, and through that become more mentally resilient.”
Doug Wills, chair of the London Press Club, hailed the study for highlighting “how the integrity and purpose with which journalists imbue their work can help them to rise to the challenge.”
The study also found that older journalists were more adept at enduring stress and recovering from setbacks, suggesting that this is a skill that can be developed over time.