Analysis of the effects of anatomy committee exam stress on visual and auditory reaction time and cortisol level: A neuroperformance study

Deniz Şenol 1 * , Cihat Uçar 2, Ayşegül Kısaoğlu 3, Mustafa Canbolat 3, Davut Özbağ 3, Sedat Yıldız 4, Şeyma Toy 5
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1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Düzce University, Düzce, Turkey
2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Adıyaman University, Adıyaman, Turkey
3 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, İnönü University, Malatya, Turkey
4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, İnönü University, Malatya, Turkey
5 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Karabük University, Karabük, Turkey
* Corresponding Author
J CLIN MED KAZ, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp. 30-34.
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Objective: The present study aims to find out the effects of exam stress, which exists in every moment of education life, on visual and auditory reaction time (VRT, ART), cortisol level and stress perception.
Material and methods: A total of 66 students (36 males, 30 females) were included in the study. VRT and ART measurements were carried out with reaction timer by asking the participants to use their dominant hands. Reaction times were recorded on two occasions, namely 30 days before the committee exam (relaxed period) and, again, on the day of exam (stressed period). Additionally, students provided salivary samples and filled in State Trait Anxiety Inventory-I (STAI-I) on both occasions.
Results: Median values of cortisol, STAI-I, VRT and ART scores of male and female students were higher during stress period than that of the relaxed period (p<0.05). Correlation analysis showed a positive weak correlation between cortisol level and STAI-I scores of students in exam period (male: r=0.317, p<0.05; female: r=0.253, p<0.05). Moreover, cortisol levels were positively correlated with VRT (male: r=0.155, p<0.05; female: r=0.227, p<0.05) and ART (male: r=0.159, p<0.05; female: r=0.163, p<0.05) scores both male and female students.
Conclusion: The results show that stress increase was found to increase cortisol level and STAI-I scores. Increased cortisol level was associated with longer reaction times as measured by VRT and ART.


Şenol D, Uçar C, Kısaoğlu A, Canbolat M, Özbağ D, Yıldız S, et al. Analysis of the effects of anatomy committee exam stress on visual and auditory reaction time and cortisol level: A neuroperformance study. J CLIN MED KAZ. 2021;18(3):30-4.


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