Stress versus Decision Making – Who Will Win in Light of the Ongoing Pandemic?

Decades have gone by, letting researchers analyze the impact stress has on our brain, disrupting our daily routine. The ongoing pandemic has been identified as a great opportunity to study the connection between stress and routine. Even though the study is far from ending, one thing is for sure: the COVID-19 crisis has led humanity into uncharted territory.

The human brain activity happens for a reason: a specially designed web of nerve cell connections. In this very case, the prefrontal cortex is the place where it all starts. Whether we are talking about abstract thinking, focusing, planning, or making connections between pieces of information, it is the prefrontal cortex that makes all of these happen.

However, studies on both lab animals and humans have determined that stress can influence all of these. According to Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist working for the Harvard University has declared that even the smallest bit of stress has a tremendous impact on our way of thinking and acting.

In addition to this, stress involves physical destruction to the brain, having the ability to shrink nerve cells, as well as their connections. All of these affected areas are found in the prefrontal cortex, and it is even thought that many other brain cells are also vulnerable, as shown by a recent study on mice.

Ever since the pandemic was declared, the researchers have started assessing the implications of this stressful period in our daily lives. Up until now, 294 research projects are under development, and it is not the first time for analyzers to conduct such experiments on people experiencing uncontrollable stress.

According to Phelps, the COVID-19 situation is affecting people’s ability to timely and accurate decisions. Her study aims to provide data regarding the influence of these external factors on one’s ability to respond to feedback, as well as how the motivation to work changes.

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