Have you ever wondered why you tend to get demotivated and suffer from memory loss when stressed? Well, scientists have found the answer.
For the first time, scientists have identified where stress resides in the brain. It’s in an area called the hippocampus, and it’s the same place where motivation, emotion, and memory are located. So, when stress moves in, motivation and memory move out!
Scientists at Yale University used brain-scanning to track the source of psychological stress induced by a series of evocative images shown to 30 volunteers.
It found the origin of stress comes from the hippocampus, which is heavily involved in the regulation of motivation, emotion and memory.
Participants were forced to look at troubling images, such as a snarling dog, mutilated faces or filthy toilets, to elicit a reaction.
These images were interspersed with calming photos, such as nature scenes. For each image, the participants graded the level of stress triggered by the photo.
Functional MRI (fMRI) scanning saw, in real time, how this psychological strain was processed in the brain.
It revealed that neural connections started in the hippocampus, deep in the brain, and emanated throughout the organ.
The researchers wanted to understand where stress comes from and how it can be regulated. This could then lead to some treatments being created to help people suffering from poor mental health.
‘These findings may help us tailor therapeutic intervention to multiple targets, such as increasing the strength of the connections from the hippocampus to the frontal cortex or decreasing the signalling to the physiological stress centres,’ said Dr Ranjita Sinha, who led the study.