Poster F92, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Stress Effects on Memory are Context Dependent
Matthew Sazma1, Andrew McCullough1, Andy Yonelinas1; 1UC Davis
Stress after learning has been shown to improve memory for prior information in a number of studies, however there are also studies that don’t show this enhancement. In the current study, we directly manipulated both stress and context after learning to determine the significance of context for these stress effects. Results show a significant stress X context interaction, where participants in the same context showed a post-encoding stress enhancement of memory, but when context was changed between learning and stress there was an impairing effect on memory. The predominant hypothesis in the field asserts that post-learning stress enhances the consolidation processes through the release of cortisol. Analysis of the cortisol levels of participants show that even though both stress groups show similar cortisol increases, the memory effects go in opposite directions depending on the context that stress occurs in. These data suggest that current stress and consolidation theories need to be modified to account for stress needing to occur in the same context as the to-be-remembered items in order to see memory enhancements.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic