Nav: Home

Building stress-resistant memories

November 24, 2016

Though it's widely assumed that stress zaps a person's ability to recall memory, it doesn't have that effect when memory is tested immediately after a taxing event, and when subjects have engaged in a highly effective learning technique, a new study reports. The results call into question the growing consensus that stress generally impairs memory retrieval. In the last decade, studies done on memory and stress have largely involved participants that were not guided in how to learn new material -- often simply attempting to memorize it by rereading or restudying, strategies known to build weak recollections. Thus, it has been unclear whether all memories are subject to the detrimental effects of stress, or whether only weakly encoded ones are vulnerable. Also complicating past studies, most participants were tested 25 minutes after a stressful event, when cortisol levels were highest in the blood. Here, to explore both areas' impact on memory, Amy Smith and colleagues invited 120 participants to study images. Sixty participants then restudied them, while the other sixty were asked to engage in "retrieval practice," recalling as many as they could, an approach consistently shown to yield better long-term memory. The following day, both groups underwent a stressful situation and then were asked to recall images from the previous day five minutes later. Stressed individuals who had only "restudied" content the day before recalled fewer items than their non-stressed re-studying counterparts, while -for both stressed and non-stressed "retrieval practice" participants - recall was nearly the same, as if stress wasn't present. What's more, retrieval practice participants who underwent stress still outperformed non-stressed participants who only restudied content.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Stress Articles:

Captive meerkats at risk of stress
Small groups of meerkats -- such as those commonly seen in zoos and safari parks -- are at greater risk of chronic stress, new research suggests.
Stress may protect -- at least in bacteria
Antibiotics harm bacteria and stress them. Trimethoprim, an antibiotic, inhibits the growth of the bacterium Escherichia coli and induces a stress response.
Some veggies each day keeps the stress blues away
Eating three to four servings of vegetables daily is associated with a lower incidence of psychological stress, new research by University of Sydney scholars reveals.
Prebiotics may help to cope with stress
Probiotics are well known to benefit digestive health, but prebiotics are less well understood.
Building stress-resistant memories
Though it's widely assumed that stress zaps a person's ability to recall memory, it doesn't have that effect when memory is tested immediately after a taxing event, and when subjects have engaged in a highly effective learning technique, a new study reports.
Stress during pregnancy
The environment the unborn child is exposed to inside the womb can have a major effect on her or his development and future health.
New insights into how the brain adapts to stress
New research led by the University of Bristol has found that genes in the brain that play a crucial role in behavioural adaptation to stressful challenges are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms.
Uncertainty can cause more stress than inevitable pain
Knowing that there is a small chance of getting a painful electric shock can lead to significantly more stress than knowing that you will definitely be shocked.
Stress could help activate brown fat
Mild stress stimulates the activity and heat production by brown fat associated with raised cortisol, according to a study published today in Experimental Physiology.
Experiencing major stress makes some older adults better able to handle daily stress
Dealing with a major stressful event appears to make some older adults better able to cope with the ups and downs of day-to-day stress.

Related Stress Reading:

The Stress-Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity
by Melanie Greenberg PhD (Author)

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Martha Davis (Author), Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman (Author), Matthew McKay (Author)

The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It
by Kelly McGonigal (Author)

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition
by Robert M. Sapolsky (Author)

Stress: The Psychology of Managing Pressure
by DK (Author)

The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living
by Amit Sood (Author), Mayo Clinic (Author)

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
by James L. Wilson (Author), Jonathan V Wright (Foreword)

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Bob Stahl (Author), Elisha Goldstein (Author), Saki Santorelli (Afterword), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Afterword)

The End of Stress: Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain
by Don Joseph Goewey (Author)

The Stress Management Workbook: De-stress in 10 Minutes or Less
by Ruth C. White PhD MPH MSW (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#482 Body Builders
This week we explore how science and technology can help us walk when we've lost our legs, see when we've gone blind, explore unfriendly environments, and maybe even make our bodies better, stronger, and faster than ever before. We speak to Adam Piore, author of the book "The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human", about the increasingly amazing ways bioengineering is being used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings. And we speak with Ken Thomas, spacesuit engineer and author of the book "The Journey to Moonwalking: The People That Enabled Footprints on the Moon" about...