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The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on memory encoding and retrieval.

Bolton, S; Robinson, OJ; (2017) The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on memory encoding and retrieval. Learn Mem , 24 (10) pp. 532-542. 10.1101/lm.045187.117. Green open access

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Abstract

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders, and daily transient feelings of anxiety (or "stress") are ubiquitous. However, the precise impact of both transient and pathological anxiety on higher-order cognitive functions, including short- and long-term memory, is poorly understood. A clearer understanding of the anxiety-memory relationship is important as one of the core symptoms of anxiety, most prominently in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is intrusive reexperiencing of traumatic events in the form of vivid memories. This study therefore aimed to examine the impact of induced anxiety (threat of shock) on memory encoding and retrieval. Eighty-six healthy participants completed tasks assessing: visuospatial working memory, verbal recognition, face recognition, and associative memory. Critically, anxiety was manipulated within-subjects: information was both encoded and retrieved under threat of shock and safe (no shock) conditions. Results revealed that visuospatial working memory was enhanced when information was encoded and subsequently retrieved under threat, and that threat impaired the encoding of faces regardless of the condition in which it was retrieved. Episodic memory and verbal short-term recognition were, however, unimpaired. These findings indicate that transient anxiety in healthy individuals has domain-specific, rather than domain-general, impacts on memory. Future studies would benefit from expanding these findings into anxiety disorder patients to delineate the differences between adaptive and maladaptive responding.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on memory encoding and retrieval.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/lm.045187.117
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/lm.045187.117
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Bolton and Robinson This article, published in Learning & Memory, is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 4.0 International), as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1574730
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