Autobiographical memory after acute stress in healthy young men
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SourceMemory, 17, 3, (2009), pp. 301-310
Article / Letter to editor
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Autobiographical memories have been found to be less specific after hydrocortisone administration in healthy men, resembling memory deficits in, for example, depression. This is the first study to investigate the effects of stress-induced elevated cortisol levels on autobiographic memory specificity and experience in healthy young men. Autobiographical memories were elicited by neutral and negative cue words, with instructions to recall either recent or remote memories. No effect of psychosocial stress was found on memory specificity or experience, but cortisol increases tended to be related to less specific, recent memories elicited by neutral cue words, especially when participants were physically aroused during memory retrieval. These results indicate that autobiographical memories are fairly resistant to an acute stressor in healthy young men, but that endogenous cortisol increases might be related to autobiographical memory retrieval. More research into the relation between endogenous cortisol increases and autobiographic memory retrieval is needed, especially in stress-related disorders.
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