Faculty Advisor

O'Brien, Kymberlee Maxine


Stress is implicated in physical and psychological health problems. In 2004, Sapolsky noted that disruptions of homeostasis cause a negative stress-response, which leads to related diseases. In this study, interest is focused on the physiological effects of stress, and subsequently how social stress, as a robust factor for physiological reactivity, affects cognitive performance. A well-known paradigm to induce acute social stress is the Trier Social Stress Task (TSST), which includes a timed speech and math task in front of evaluators. This study investigated psychological and physiological influences of social stress on cognitive performance for college students, comparing levels of freshman to seniors. In conclusion, no correlations were verified however trends appeared to exist.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2017

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Social Science and Policy Studies