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Just because I may disagree, who knows I might not though you obviously have already decided what my actions will be before I ever have, it does not mean that I am simply dismissing it as you put it because "it just can't be". I have done you no disservice except to disagree if you're the type to take it as such, so kindly extend me the same courtesy. You do not know me. You do not know my thoughts. Stop pretending you do please.
while you just sit back and try to shoot it down with little more than the assumption that it simply can't be true.
Stress and Memory
Chronic over-secretion of stress hormones adversely affects brain function, especially memory. Too much cortisol can prevent the brain from laying down a new memory, or from accessing already existing memories.
The renowned brain researcher, Robert M. Sapolsky, has shown that sustained stress can damage the hippocampus , the part of the limbic brain which is central to learning and memory. The culprits are "glucocorticoids," a class of steroid hormones secreted from the adrenal glands during stress. They are more commonly know as corticosteroids or cortisol .
During a perceived threat, the adrenal glands immediately release adrenalin. If the threat is severe or still persists after a couple of minutes, the adrenals then release cortisol. Once in the brain cortisol remains much longer than adrenalin, where it continues to affect brain cells.
Cortisol Affects Memory Formation and Retrieval
Have you ever forgotten something during a stressful situation that you should have remembered? Cortisol also interferes with the function of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other.
Excessive cortisol can make it difficult to think or retrieve long-term memories. That's why people get befuddled and confused in a severe crisis. Their mind goes blank because "the lines are down." They can't remember where the fire exit is, for example.
BRAIN connections that encourage the formation of false memories have been identified. Such memories appear to be more likely in people with high-quality links between neurons in a particular brain area.
Individuals often recall the same events differently or report memories of things they should have been too young to recall. To find out if a tendency to manufacture false memories is reflected in brain structure, Lluis Fuentemilla at the University of Barcelona in Spain and colleagues induced them in 48 students in the lab.
Stress makes people much more likely to create false memories, say American researchers. It also appears to make them more certain that these false memories are correct.
The results could help explain why crime witnesses give conflicting evidence or pick the wrong man in a line up, the researchers say. But they do not account for "reconstructed memories" of childhood abuse.
Psychology student Jessica Payne of the University of Arizona, Tucson and colleagues read to 66 college students a list of 20 words. All related to sleep, such as "bed", "rest", "tired" and so on.
When asked a few minutes later if they heard the word "hat", they nearly always say no. But when asked if "sleep" was on the list, 60 per cent say yes, even though it wasn't.
Such false memories have been demonstrated before. "We wanted to know if stress would increase the rate of false memories," says Payne.
So the researchers then repeated the experiment. But before taking the test, half the students had to give an impromptu presentation under glaring light with a video camera rolling. "It was very stressful," says Payne.
The stressed group thought "sleep" was on the list nearly 80 per cent of the time. They did not pick unrelated words like "chair" as being on the list any more often then the relaxed controls.
Even more surprising was how fast the stressed students clicked the "yes" button, says Payne. Unstressed subjects usually took a tenth of a second longer before saying yes to "sleep". "It's as if they weren't quite sure," she says.
But stressed students clicked yes equally fast for all their answers, as if they were just as sure of the false memory as of the real ones.
The hippocampus, a brain structure needed to form new memories, is riddled with receptors for the stress hormone cortisol. Payne believes cortisol may cause the effect by suppressing the hippocampus.
The thematic nature of the false memories suggests people might tend to let stored associations influence their recall of a stressful event. It might be possible for memories of a crime scene to be influenced by beliefs about the sorts of people who commit crimes, Payne says. But a more direct experiment is necessary to be sure.
However, the results do not deal with recovered memory syndrome, in which adults become convinced they were abused as children, Payne says. This type of false memory only involves adding related details to real events.