In tension, our body respond differently to any kind of requirement. The tension can affect us in many areas of our lives and mood as well. But have you ever thought, what does tension do to our senses?
Many previous studies have shown that lots of tension stop the recovery of memories. Scientists discovered that cortisol suppresses the strengthening of synaptic connections. This time, scientists investigated that it also has a major effect on our perception and perceptual learning. Scientists from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) did this investigation.
Dr. Hubert Dinse said, “We can sharpen our senses thereby improve our perceptual performance. The stress hormone cortisol completely blocks this important ability.”
Scientists involved 30 participants in the study. They tested how the sense of touch could be changed after a training phase. Half of the participants received a medium dose of the stress hormone cortisol. Other half received a placebo drug.
Scientists then hired the well-established approach of passive finger stimulation. They used two-point discrimination threshold to access tactile performance. This indicates how far apart two stimuli must? The stimuli must be distinguished as two separate sensations. The closer they are, the better the sense of touch.
The group with placebo drug seem with improved tactile quality by 15 percent. Another group with cortisol blocked almost all the stimulation-induced improvement.
This data showed that the single dose of cortisol has a substantial effect on the plasticity of sensory areas of the brain. The cortisol is often used in the treatment of immunological and neurological diseases.
According to scientists, the result of this study could affect clinical treatments. The effects on perceptual learning observed in this study may counteract rehabilitation efforts. Thus, it is essential to discover which affects the clinical treatment with these substances has on learning mechanisms in the brain.