An imaging study published in the Nature Communications journal focused on how different regions of the brain, specifically the hypothalamus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, react to stressful images.
Common physical effects of stress include heightened alertness and rapid heartbeat, while chronic stress is associated with worse physical and mental health. This study scanned the brains of 60 volunteers through fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) as the participants viewed various images, some stress inducing and some neutral. The participants rated their stress level after viewing each picture on a scale of 1 to 9, 1 being not stressed at all and 9 being extremely stressed.
The results suggested that memory-related brain networks can be useful in strengthening the emotional response to stress.
Read more about the study here.