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Professors and Students Benefitted From the 6th Social Studies Colloquium Session

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photo  Last night Dr. Phillip Zoladz presented his research concerning how stress can affect memory and may be linked to psychopathology.  Zoladz, an assistant Professor of Psychology at ONU has extensive background in the field of neuroscience.  He received his B.A. in Psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University, and then earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of South Florida.

     Zoladz used research from a few of his studies, including some held on ONU's campus this year and last year to show the correlation between stress and learning.  Zoladz experimented on both rats and humans to see how stress affected their learning curves and maintenance of the material they learned.  Zoladz was attempting to determine why some forms of stress improve memory and learning (such as flash bulb memories like 9/11) and some stressors actually cause us to forget what we have learned. 

     Zoladz examined how the release of cortisol ( a chemical released during stressful times) was processed by both the amygdala and hippocampus parts of the brain.  He found that cortisol impaired the hippocampus, but benefitted the amygdala.  He did explain also, that acute stress, such as the stress of a pop quiz, surprise, etc. can aid the hippocampus first and then eventually impairs it.  What did this student take away from the study? That a little stress while trying to learn can be beneficial, however reoccuring or omnipresent stress (such as the stress of a term paper *couch cough*) can actually hinder the learning and recall of facts.

This session was recorded.

To view the recording, click the link below: