Brain Freeze: Can Physical Stress Induced By Low Temperature Reduce Memory Formation?
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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While eyewitness memory continues to play a critical role in police investigations and court rulings, its validity has repeatedly come under question. Can we trust ourselves to recall critical information under stressful conditions? The association between stress and memory formation has long been a subject of debate. Inconsistencies in experimental findings may be due to experimental failure to create adequately stressful conditions. Environmental stressors, such as cold temperatures, have been shown to affect memory formation, and in turn cognitive recall. Our experiment uses a derivative of the cold pressor test to induce stress in participants. We hypothesized that stress induced by the cold pressor test should reduce long term memory retention. Forty subjects were randomly tested in control (n=20) and stress (n=20) experimental groups. The control group submerged their feet in room temperature water and the experimental group submerged their feet in cold water. Both groups were shown a crime scene video. We measured our participants stress state through testing heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Ten minutes after experimentation, participants were asked to complete a memory test. Data from statistical testing revealed no significant difference between control and experimental groups.
long term memory