Francesca Argentino, Leila Ali, Luigi Barrea


PURPOSE: We investigate the relationship between digital learning and stress hormones and the impact of stress on learning. METHODS: We analysed empirical studies that explore how digitalisation interferes with stress hormones homeostasis, and how stress impacts learning and cognitive functions. To do so, we used the keywords “stress”, “cortisol”, “digital learning” in PubMed and ResearchGate. RESULTS: Stress has always been considered as a negative side effect of digital use, but recent studies have pointed out a positive link between cortisol and learning and cognition. Given the relationship between digital devices and stress, we hypothesise that a resourceful “balance” is achievable and specific stress levels can promote learning. CONCLUSIONS: Digital tools are becoming more and more prevalent in every aspect of life, but the focus of literature has been the clinical field. Future research is needed to analyse and optimise the digital impact on cognition in the educational field.


digital learning, stress, cortisol

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