Research on the effect of acute stress and high levels of glucocorticoids on memory has largely focused on memory tasks involving the medial temporal lobe (e.g., declarative memory). Less is known, however, about the effects of stress and glucocorticoids on more strategic memory processes regulated by the prefrontal cortex (e.g., source monitoring). In the current study, the authors investigated whether exposure to acute psychosocial stress would result in altered source monitoring performance relative to the performance of a nonstressed control group. To this end, the authors assigned nonsmoking, healthy, young men to either a stress (n = 22) or a control (n = 18) condition, after which the men were given an internal source monitoring test. Results show that relative to control participants, stressed participants made fewer source monitoring errors. This study suggests that stress may have differential effects on memory, depending on whether the memory test is regulated by the prefrontal cortex or the medial temporal lobe.
Smeets, T., Jelicic, M., Merckelbach, H. L. G. J., Peters, M. J. V., Fett, A. J., Taverniers, J., Henquet, C. E. C., & Dautzenberg, J. (2006). Enhanced memory performance on an internal-internal source monitoring test following acute psychosocial stress. Behavioral Neuroscience, 120, 1204-1210. https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7044.120.6.1204