In a recent study we investigated the acute effects of cortisol administration in healthy male volunteers on free recall of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral nouns using a between-subjects double-blind placebo-controlled design. The volunteers were administered 10 mg of hydrocortisone or placebo between 9:00 and 10:30. Two hours after administration of cortisol a decline in recall of neutral and pleasant words was found, while recall of unpleasant words did not change. These results are consistent with a possible inhibitory influence of cortisol on a prefrontal dopaminergic mechanism involved in approach and positivity bias. In this paper we first explain why this interpretation would predict recall of pleasant words from recency positions to be especially sensitive to cortisol administration. Comparing primacy and recency recall of pleasant and unpleasant words, there proved to be a selective decline in recall of pleasant recency words. These results did not appear to stem from differences in recall strategies between our groups of volunteers.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
- Positivity bias
- Serial position
- Verbal memory