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Low to Moderate Stress Is Good for You - Neuroscience News

Low to Moderate Stress Is Good for You - Neuroscience News

Low to Moderate Stress Is Good for You - Neuroscience News
Nov 23, 2022 1 min, 59 secs

Summary: Low-to-moderate stress may be beneficial for your brain function, especially when it comes to working memory.

The study found that low to moderate levels of stress improve working memory, the short-term information people use to complete everyday tasks like remembering someone’s phone number or recalling directions on how to get to a specific location.

“Our findings show that low to moderate levels of perceived stress were associated with elevated working memory neural activation, resulting in better mental performance.”.

In previous research, Oshri and his colleagues demonstrated the low to moderate stress levels could help individuals build resilience and reduce their risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression and antisocial behaviors.

The present study builds upon that work, providing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that shows how low to moderate stress can make the parts of the brain that control working memory more effectively do their job.

The results suggested that individuals who reported low to moderate stress levels had increased activity in the parts of the brain that involve working memory.

To assess perceived stress levels, participants answered questions about how frequently they experienced certain thoughts or feelings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the participants who said they had more support from their families and friends appeared more able to cope with low to moderate stress levels in a healthy manner.

“Low-to-moderate level of perceived stress strengthens working memory: Testing the hormesis hypothesis through neural activation” by Assaf Oshri et al.

Low-to-moderate level of perceived stress strengthens working memory: Testing the hormesis hypothesis through neural activation

This hypothesis has been advanced by the hormesis model of psychosocial stress, in which low-moderate levels of stress are expected to result in neurocognitive benefits, such as improved working memory (WM), a central executive function

In particular, we investigated whether neural response during a WM challenge is a potential intermediary through which low-moderate levels of stress confer beneficial effects on WM performance

Findings showed that low-moderate levels of perceived stress were associated with elevated WM-related neural activation, resulting in more optimal WM behavioral performance (α *β = −0.02, p = .046)

Finally, we found that the benefit of low-moderate stress was stronger among individuals with access to higher levels of psychosocial resources (β = −0.06, p = .021)

By drawing attention to the dose-dependent, nonlinear relation between stress and WM, this study highlights emerging evidence of a process by which mild stress induces neurocognitive benefits, and the psychosocial context under which benefits are most likely to manifest

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