Cognitive load is a term that refers to the amount of mental effort or processing capacity required to perform a particular task. Environmental emotional stress can impact cognitive load by increasing the mental effort required to perform a task, or by impairing a person’s cognitive abilities and reducing their ability to process information effectively.

Emotional stress impairs cognitive load

Research has shown that emotional stress can impair cognitive function, including attention, memory, and problem-solving. This can make it more difficult for a person to perform tasks that require these cognitive processes, increasing their cognitive load. For example, if a person is feeling stressed, they may have a harder time focusing on a particular task, and may need to put in more effort to remember and recall information relevant to the task.

Environmental variables affect cognitive load

Environmental emotional stress can also increase cognitive load by disrupting a person’s ability to process information effectively. Stress hormones such as cortisol can impair the functioning of the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in memory and learning. This can make it more difficult for a person to encode and consolidate new information, leading to an increase in cognitive load.

Environmental emotional stressors and increased cognitive load means reduced productivity and cognitive performance

Overall, environmental emotional stress can impact cognitive load by increasing the mental effort required to perform a task, and by impairing a person’s cognitive abilities and reducing their ability to process information effectively. This can make it more difficult for a person to perform cognitively demanding tasks, and can lead to reduced productivity and overall cognitive performance.