CAMBRIDGE, MA—A new study published Wednesday in the Journal Of Behavioral Medicine has found evidence of a direct link between stress and one’s desperate attempts, when a villain is approaching, to grasp a weapon that’s just out of reach. “Cortisol levels in the brain increased dramatically in study participants who were stretching as far they could, struggling to get their hand on a knife or a gun that was inches away from their fingertips and was needed for defense against a person coming to kill them,” said Harvard University neuropsychologist Louis Bhabha, co-author of the study that showed anxiety and physical tension increased as the villain drew closer and peaked when the villain kicked the weapon to a far corner of the room just as the victim’s hand was about to get purchase on it. “Similarly, heart rate and blood pressure rose in people who were under attack and, though they were very close to it, could not quite grab hold of a two-by-four or broken bottle—either because they were pinned under debris or because they were forced to slide themselves across the floor due to a leg injury sustained earlier in the struggle.” Bhabha added that researchers saw an immediate decrease in stress levels when the participant’s sidekick, believed to be dead or incapacitated, had shown up at the last second to kill the villain and save the day.
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