Course Title: Plenary C: When We Test, Do We Stress? A Developmental Perspective of the Effects of Stress on Human Performance (Lupien)


Credit Hours: 1


Instructor(s) Sonia Lupien


Sonia J. Lupien, PhD Director, Centre for Studies on Human Stress (www.humanstress.ca)
Plenary C: When We Test, Do We Stress? A Developmental Perspective of the Effects of Stress on Human Performance
Abstract & Learning Objectives: It is widely accepted by scientists, health care professionals and members of the general public that memory capacities decline with aging. However, it is also well known that acute and chronic stress can impair memory performance. In addition to summarizing the scientific basis of stress research and the various methodologies used to measure the effects of stress on brain and behavior in humans, the literature on the effects of acute and chronic stress on cognitive performance in humans will be discussed, with a particular emphasis on studies performed in older adults. For example, results of studies showing that the testing conditions in which we test older adults can induce an acute stress response that can lead to transient memory impairments. Third, the effects of stress on brain development will be presented, and effects of acute and chronic stress in children will be summarized. Finally, various interventions that are currently being developed to prevent the effects of stress on brain and performance across the lifespan will be reviewed. Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:
  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the methodology used to measure the effects of stress on human performance
  • Describe how the conditions in which we test individuals can induce stress participants and lead to impaired cognitive performance
  • Discuss new methods and interventions that can decrease stress responses in individuals and the effects of stress on human performance across the lifespan
Speaker Biography: Dr. Sonia Lupien is director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (www.humanstress.ca) that has for mission to transfer scientifically validated knowledge on stress to the general public. She holds a Canada’s Research Chair on Human Stress and is full professor at the Department of Psychiatry of the Faculty of Medicine of University of Montreal. A scientific researcher for the last 25 years, she studies the effects of stress on the human brain, from infancy to old age. Her studies have shown that children are as vulnerable as adults to stress and that children as young as age 6 can produce high levels of stress hormones. Greatly involved in the transfer of scientific knowledge, Dr. Lupien is now developing and validating stress interventions for vulnerable populations.