New paper on post-encoding stress

Stressful experiences can have a powerful influence on what we learn and remember. Prior work has shown that stress after learning can influence later memory, but until now, we knew very little about how the retroactive effects of stress interact with processes that were active during learning. In this study, we showed that the effects of post-encoding stress on memory depended on the level of hippocampal and amygdala activity during encoding. This means that, when stress followed encoding, it preferentially protected memories for information that had elicited a lot of activity in these important memory structures. In this way, stress was acting as a mnemonic filter, selectively keeping the memories that were “tagged” at encoding, compared to those that were not.

For more information, check out the paper linked below, as well as its companion behavioral paper.


Ritchey, M., McCullough, A.M., Ranganath, C., & Yonelinas, A.P. (2017). Stress as a mnemonic filter: Interactions between medial temporal lobe encoding processes and post-encoding stress. Hippocampus, 27 (1), 77-88.