Behavioral & Systems
Department of Psychology
Center for Collaborative Neuroscience
Rutgers University
Piscataway, New Jersey
Dr. Tracey J. Shors is Distinguished Professor in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University. She has been studying stress and memory for 30 years, with more than 140 scientific publications. One of her many goals is to understand how stress and trauma interact with learning to change the brain – especially the female brain. Her experiments have focused on sex differences in learned helplessness and how learning can be enhanced or disrupted after stressful life experiences. For example, males and females can respond in opposite directions to a stressful life event and use different brain circuits to do so. Her lab was also one of the first to work on neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus. They reported that new neurons contribute to processes of learning and memory and further showed that these new cells can be rescued from death by learning.

Over the past decade, Dr. Shors has turned her attention to trauma in women and it effects on their brains. She is especially committed to helping women learn to overcome the trauma of sexual violence. For this, she developed a novel intervention known as MAP Training, which stands for Mental and Physical Training. The intervention, MAP Training My Brain™, combines aerobic exercise and silent meditation to reduce depression and recurring thoughts (i.e. ruminations) while increasing synchronized brain activity (Shors et al., 2014; Alderman et al., 2016; Shors et al., 2017). Importantly, MAP Training reduces trauma-related thoughts and ruminations about the past while increasing self-worth in women with a history of sexual violence and does so more than exercise or meditation alone (Shors et al., 2018). Simply put, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

MAP Training is now trademarked as MAP TRAINING MY BRAIN™. It is relatively easy to learn and does not take much time. Professor Shors is committed to making these practices available to people from all walks of life. If you want to do MAP Training or know someone who might benefit, please send them to or send an email.