The effects of an acute psychosocial stressor on episodic memory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although stressors are believed to impair memory, experimental studies with humans have provided inconsistent support for this conclusion. The current study was designed to examine the effect of an acute psychosocial stressor, and subsequent reactivity, on episodic memory. One hundred participants completed a list-recall task before and after random assignment into a stressor or nonstressor condition. Participants assigned to the stressor condition exhibited both impaired delayed and immediate recall, and also exhibited increasesin the commission of intrusions and perseverations. The experience of off-task thoughts and intentional suppression of such thoughts, were associated with greater impairment of immediate recall. Changes in state anxiety, negative mood, and heart rate were unrelated to changes in memory. These data indicate that exposure to a stressor impaired the recall of previously learned information, and compromised the recall of newly acquired information. Furthermore, cognitive interference is an important factor regarding stress-related impairments of episodic memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-918
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

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Episodic Memory
Short-Term Memory
Anxiety
Heart Rate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

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The effects of an acute psychosocial stressor on episodic memory. / Stawski, Robert S.; Sliwinski, Martin John; Smyth, Joshua Morrison.

In: European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 6, 01.09.2009, p. 897-918.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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