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Effect of anxiety on short term memory Featured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was performed to find out how the memory of boys and girls can be affected by anxiety. The experiment was done by performing a memory test on students under normal conditions in a class, as compared to performing the test on a stage during the school assembly.


The students will be anxious about being on stage, which will affect their memory adversely.

Scientific Terms

Short term memory, anxiety, stress, cortisol, corticotopin


Anxiety and memory

We all undergo stress and anxiety in our lives; it is part and parcel of life. Stress and anxiety may be caused by exam pressures, competition, high expectations, worry, fear and many other factors. How we deal with stress and anxiety will differ among individuals.

Stress and anxiety have always been known to affect our memory and learning abilities. How often have we burned the midnight oil doing last-minute revision, only to enter the exam hall unable to remember anything? For many of us, the pressure of wanting to impress during an interview ironically causes us to perform poorly. Our ability to think, learn and remember becomes impaired when we are stressed.

When we become stressed, the hormones regulating our response to stress and anxiety will start to affect our brain functions and ability to communicate. During periods of stress, the hormone cortisol will circulate in our body. The hormone corticotopin will affect our brain’s ability to remember during anxious moments.

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