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Stress and Cognitive Functioning

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Consider the work of an air traffic controller or an emergency room physician. Both jobs require alertness, quick thinking, and sound judgment in the making of a constant stream of life-or-death decisions. This process occurs with every worker's shift, day after day. Imagine the impact of such an ongoing responsibility on cognitive functioning.

Stress has profound effects on cognitive functions, such as decision making, occasionally altering the brain in surprising ways. Stress hormones can affect neurotransmitter systems in the brain, causing physical changes in some cases. The hippocampus, for example, can atrophy as a result of chronic stress.

Please help m e to consider effects of stress on cognitive functions. Then think about a time when stress affected your cognitive functions.

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"Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. (HelpGuide, 2013, para 2). The way in which a person responds to stress also has effect on the body at a chemical level. Hormones such as cortisol, dopamine and serotonin are released and can have an effect on the individual's mood, biochemistry within the brain, and immune system response.

An example of how stress can affect cognitive functioning is with the feelings of depression. Minor depression is "is characterized by having symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do ...

Solution Summary

A discussion regarding stress and cognitive functioning including examples using depressed symptoms linked to continuous exposure to stress as well as an opinion from the Expert.