A study conducted by researchers at the University of Granada Group of Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychoneuroimmunology has demonstrated that cortisol levels in saliva are associated with a person’s ability to make good decisions in stressful situations.
To perform this study, the researchers exposed the participants (all women) to a stressful situation by using sophisticated virtual reality technology. The study revealed that people who are not skilled in decision-making have lower baseline cortisol levels in saliva as compared to skilled people.
Cortisol –known as the stress hormone– is a steroid hormone segregated at the adrenal cortex and stimulated by the adrenocorticotropic (ACTH) hormone, which is produced at the pituitary gland. Cortisol is involved in a number of body systems and plays a relevant role in the muscle-skeletal system, blood circulation, the immune system, the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins and the nervous system.
Recent studies have demonstrated that stress can influence decision making in people. This cognitive component might be considered one of the human resources for coping with stress.