Stressy Study

Are you STRESSING OUT right now?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Life is full of stressful situations – exams! Traffic! Which remote goes with which appliance?!!

And the effects of stress are usually thought to be harmful to our health. But WHY do we get stressed? Scientists from University College London wondered.

These researchers measured physiological indicators of stress while volunteers conducted a task. Participants were sometimes given predictable visual cues, closely followed by an unpleasant electric shock. Other times, the cues were unpredictable. In this case, participants had a difficult time anticipating when they would experience pain.

Result? The less predictable the scenario, the more stressed the participants became. Interestingly, people that were more stressed out also did better at predicting the next shock correctly!

Are you stressing about that exam because you’re uncertain what to study? That’s okay, say the researchers — you’re bound to learn more.

On the other hand, if you DON’T experience stress, you simply won’t perform.

And THAT’S something to stress about!