Thinking and Intense Experiences (06-05-19)

Castella and colleagues demonstrate that there are cognitive benefits to intense experiences such as bungee-jumping; finding ways to apply their findings to more mundane designed experiences may be challenging.  The researchers “explored the effects of high arousal on cognitive performance when facing a situation of risk. . . . a field study was carried out in a real-life situation with . . . volunteer participants performing a bungee jumping activity and a control group. . . . Working memory capacity . . . selective attention . . . and decision-making . . . were assessed at 3 time points. . . .  The results indicate that high arousal accompanied by high positive valence [emotional state] scores after jumping either improved performance or led to a lack of impairment in certain cognitive tasks.”

Judit Castella, Jaume Boned, Jorge Mendez-Ulrich, and Antoni Sanz.  “Jump and Free Fall!  Memory, Attention, and Decision-Making Processes in an Extreme Sport.”  Cognition and Emotion, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2019.1617675