The impact of acute psychological stress on declarative and working memory functioning

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Thomas, Kevin en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Human, Robyn en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-11-02T10:59:09Z
dc.date.available 2015-11-02T10:59:09Z
dc.date.issued 2010 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Human, R. 2010. The impact of acute psychological stress on declarative and working memory functioning. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14616
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (leaves 94-102). en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Previous research has shown that stress affects processing in many different memory systems. This study aimed to investigate the effects of acute psychosocial stress on declarative memory (DM) and working memory (WM) performance, and to explore whether sex differences exist under stress in these two memory systems. DM was assessed using cued recall and recognition of a verbal paired-associates list. WM was assessed using an n-back test with various difficulty levels. One hundred (42 males) undergraduate psychology students from the University of Cape Town were recruited. Phase of menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive use were controlled for in female participants. Participants took part in two sessions, 24 hours apart, each beginning after 16h00. Day 1 involved learning and immediate cued recall of the word pairs, and completing a practice n-back protocol. During Day 2, 45 participants were exposed to a psychosocial stressor and 41 were exposed to a relaxation period. Physiological and self-report measures of stress were taken at three intervals pre- and post-experimental manipulation. Participants then completed delayed cued recall and recognition tests for the previously-learned word pairs, and the full version of the n-back test. Data were analysed only for participants characterised as 'cortisol responders' following the experimental manipulation. The final sample included 57 participants (30 males). With regard to DM, stress did not affect either delayed cued recall or recognition performance in either men or women. With regard to WM, stress negatively affected accuracy among men, but not women. These results are largely consistent with previous literature, but also elucidate a sex difference in working memory performance under stress (viz., while men's performance is negatively affected by stress, women show improved performance). The study provides important evidence for sex differences in WM performance under stress, and highlights several methodological issues that should be addressed in future studies. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Psychological Research en_ZA
dc.title The impact of acute psychological stress on declarative and working memory functioning en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Psychology en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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