Modulatory mechanisms of cortisol effects on emotional learning and memory: novel perspectives

van Ast, Vanessa A, Cornelisse, Sandra, Marin, Marie-France, Ackermann, Sandra, Garfinkel, Sarah N and Abercrombie, Heather C (2013) Modulatory mechanisms of cortisol effects on emotional learning and memory: novel perspectives. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38 (9). pp. 1874-1882. ISSN 0306-4530

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Abstract

It has long been known that cortisol affects learning and memory processes. Despite
a wealth of research dedicated to cortisol effects on learning and memory, the strength or even
directionality of the effects often vary. A number of the factors that alter cortisol’s effects on
learning and memory are well-known. For instance, effects of cortisol can be modulated by
emotional arousal and the memory phase under study. Despite great advances in understanding
factors that explain variability in cortisol’s effects, additional modulators of cortisol effects on
memory exist that are less widely acknowledged in current basic experimental research. The goal
of the current review is to disseminate knowledge regarding less well-known modulators of
cortisol effects on learning and memory. Since several models for the etiology of anxiety, such as
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), incorporate stress and the concomitant release of cortisol
as important vulnerability factors, enhanced understanding of mechanisms by which cortisol
exerts beneficial as opposed to detrimental effects on memory is very important. Further
elucidation of the factors that modulate (or alter) cortisol’s effects on memory will allow reconciliation of seemingly inconsistent findings in the basic and clinical literatures. The present
review is based on a symposium as part of the 42nd International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology
Conference, New York, USA, that highlighted some of those modulators and their underlying
mechanisms

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Jonathan Williams
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 14:31
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2017 06:42
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56668

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