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Stress. 2011 Mar;14(2):136-44. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2010.520376. Epub 2010 Oct 31.

The effects of post-encoding stress on recognition memory: examining the impact of skydiving in young men and women.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. apyonelinas@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Prior studies have indicated that post-encoding stress can protect memories from the effects of forgetting, and this has been taken as evidence that stress facilitates memory consolidation. However, it is not known whether stress acts by directly influencing the strength of the underlying memories or whether it influences the generation process that plays a critical role in tests such as free recall. To address this issue, we examined the effects of stress produced by skydiving on recognition memory for negative and neutral pictures. Relative to a non-stress control condition, post-encoding stress in males was found to increase recognition memory for neutral pictures. However, stress was not found to improve recognition for emotional pictures, nor was it found to influence recognition memory in female participants. Additional analysis of recognition performance suggested that stress increased familiarity-based recognition rather than recollection. This study indicates that stress can improve familiarity-based recognition, thus showing that stress directly increases the strength of the underlying memories.

PMID:
21034295
PMCID:
PMC4262523
DOI:
10.3109/10253890.2010.520376
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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