Acute psychosocial stress and children's memory
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Number of pages
SourceStress : The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 17, 4, (2014), pp. 305-313
Article / Letter to editor
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Stress : The International Journal on the Biology of Stress
We investigated whether children's performance on working memory (WM) and delayed retrieval (DR) tasks decreased after stress exposure, and how physiological stress responses related to performance under stress. About 158 children (83 girls; M-age = 10.61 years, SD = 0.52) performed two WM tasks (WM forward and WM backward) and a DR memory task first during a control condition, and 1 week later during a stress challenge. Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and cortisol were assessed during the challenge. Only WM backward performance declined over conditions. Correlations between physiological stress responses and performance within the stress challenge were present only for WM forward and DR. For WM forward, higher cortisol responses were related to better performance. For DR, there was an inverted U-shape relation between cortisol responses and performance, as well as a cortisol x sAA interaction, with concurrent high or low responses related to optimal performance. This emphasizes the importance of including curvilinear and interaction effects when relating physiology to memory.
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