Poster D83, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
MDMA diminishes the recollection of emotional information.
Manoj Doss1, Jessica Weafer1, David Gallo1, Harriet de Wit1; 1University of Chicago
±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has shown promise as an adjunct to psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. One mechanism for this may be by modifying emotional memory. We tested the effects of MDMA on the encoding and retrieval of emotional memories. Healthy participants came in for an encoding and retrieval session, separated by 48 hours. The encoding and retrieval groups received MDMA at the first and second session, respectively, and placebo on their non-MDMA session. A placebo group received placebo at both sessions. During encoding, participants viewed labels describing negative, neutral, and positive pictures, sometimes followed by the corresponding picture. During retrieval, participants performed two memory tests: a picture recollection test with confidence ratings and a picture recognition test with remember/know judgments. On the picture recollection test, all groups exhibited a typical memory advantage for negative items over neutral and positive items. However, recollection estimates from a receiver operator characteristic analysis and the remember/know procedure found that MDMA differentially affected emotional memory. MDMA at encoding diminished recollection of negative and positive material. There was also evidence for modulation of emotional recollection in the retrieval group. These findings suggest that MDMA affects qualitative aspects of emotional memories, such as the subjective vividness of recollected details. They also suggest that the potential therapeutic value of MDMA may partly come from a re-encoding of an event such that emotional details are weakened in memory.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic