When people are persistently stressed, they don't learn as well

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A note for Lesson no. 5, "Your Brain Secretly Works With Other Brains," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 95‌ is:

We also pay the costs of reduced innovation in a global economy, because when people are persistently stressed, they don’t learn as well.

Persistent social stress affects the ability to pay attention and shift attention, both of which are important to learning new material.[1] More generally, chronic stress may make it more difficult to update memory as new information is learned.[2]


  1. Liston, Connor, Bruce S. McEwen, and B. J. Casey. 2009. "Psychosocial Stress Reversibly Disrupts Prefrontal Processing and Attentional Control." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (3): 912–917.
  2. Vogel, Susanne, and Lars Schwabe. 2016. "Learning and Memory Under Stress: Implications for the Classroom." npj Science of Learning 1 (1): 1–10.