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It really depends on the timing of the stressful event, as well as anticipation. From an evolutionary standpoint, "stress" developed for a reason in the context of heightened arousal, attention, preparation for action, etc. Say you encounter a lion in your backyard: Not only will your sympathetic nervous system be on full speed, but several cortices are also ...


Not only it does, this phenomenon can be influenced by drugs. Beta-blockers increase memory function under stress, while reboxetine (an NRI antidepressant) actually decreases it! See eg. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16642355


I can remember experiment where we (in faculty days) induced electro stimulation of middle pain and measure list of words and how much participants will rememember in group with electro stimulation and without it. group with not induced pain (or stress) remember more. Unfortunatelly I cant find research paper for that. Here is neuroscientific explanation ...

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