Science Fair Project:

How Stress Affects the Body

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Research Question:

  • Does stress affect body temperature?

Stress stimulates the release of hormones that affect the body in a variety of different ways. In this experiment, you will evaluate whether changes in body temperature can be detected when people are placed in stressful situations.

Materials:

  • Basal thermometer
  • Test subjects
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Stopwatch
  • Notebook for recording and analyzing results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Design a very challenging test to give to your test subjects. For example, you could create a multiplication test with many questions and ask test subjects to complete the test in just five minutes. Tell test subjects that they will receive a reward if they are able to complete the test perfectly within the time frame.
  2. Before starting the test, ask the participant to rate his or her stress level on a scale of one to ten.
  3. Ask the test subject to sit quietly for five minutes before taking the test.
  4. Take and record the subject’s basal body temperature
  5. Ask the test subject to take the test.
  6. Immediately after the test, repeat the basal body temperature measurement and ask the test subject to rate his or her stress level on a scale of one to ten.
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 with approximately ten test subjects.
  8. Analyze your results. Do you notice changes in your test subjects’ body temperatures after they took the challenging test? If so, how much did temperature change on average? Did test subjects who rated a higher increase in stress level exhibit larger temperature fluctuations?

Terms/Concepts: basal body temperature; stress

Author: Megan Doyle
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