Amphetamine fails to alter cued recollection of emotional images: Study of encoding, retrieval, and state-dependency

Jessica Weafer, David A. Gallo, Harriet De Wit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Stimulant drugs facilitate both encoding and retrieval of salient information in laboratory animals, but less is known about their effects on memory for emotionally salient visual images in humans. The current study investigated dextroamphetamine (AMP) effects on memory for emotional pictures in healthy humans, by administering the drug only at encoding, only at retrieval, or at both encoding and retrieval. During the encoding session, all participants viewed standardized positive, neutral, and negative pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). 48 hours later they attended a retrieval session testing their cued recollection of these stimuli. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (N = 20 each): condition AP (20 mg AMP at encoding and placebo (PL) at retrieval); condition PA (PL at encoding and AMP at retrieval); condition AA (AMP at encoding and retrieval); or condition PP (PL at encoding and retrieval). Amphetamine produced its expected effects on physiological and subjective measures, and negative pictures were recollected more frequently than neutral pictures. However, contrary to hypotheses, AMP did not affect recollection for positive, negative, or neutral stimuli, whether it was administered at encoding, retrieval, or at both encoding and retrieval. Moreover, recollection accuracy was not state-dependent. Considered in light of other recent drug studies in humans, this study highlights the sensitivity of drug effects to memory testing conditions and suggests future strategies for translating preclinical findings to human behavioral laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere90423
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 27 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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