COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGYCortisol has different effects on human memory for emotional and neutral stimuliRimmele, Ulrike1 2; Domes, Gregor2 CA; Mathiak, Klaus3; Hautzinger, Martin2 Author Information 1Graduate School of Neural and Behavioural Sciences, International Max Planck Research School, University of Tübingen, Österbergstrasse 3, 72074 Tübingen 2Clinical and Physiological Psychology, University of Tübingen, Christophstrasse 2, 72072 Tübingen 3Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str.3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany CACorresponding Author: [email protected] Received 10 July 2003; accepted 22 August 2003 NeuroReport 14(18):p 2485-2488, December 19, 2003. Buy Abstract Adrenal stress hormones are considered to play a role in memory enhancement of emotionally arousing events. To investigate the effects of cortisol on human emotional memory, subjects were administered hydrocortisone (25 mg) or placebo and presented with either an emotionally arousing or a neutral story. Memory for the story was tested 1 week later. In all memory tests, subjects who viewed the emotional story scored better for the emotionally arousing story parts, indicating that arousal enhances memory. In memory of details, cortisol showed an interaction with story valence but no main effect: cortisol enhanced memory for details of the neutral story version, but impaired memory for details of the emotionally arousing version. We thus confirm a non-linear interaction between cortisol and arousal on memory formation. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.