THE EFFECTS OF BARORECEPTOR STIMULATION ON SHORT-TERM VERBAL MEMORY
Individuals remember arousing, emotional stimuli better than neutral. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been associated with changes in such 'affective memory' in clinical samples. The current study utilized carotid baroreceptor stimulation (CBS), an indirect method of vagus nerve stimulation, to investigate this association further in normal, college-aged participants. Results showed that CBS marginally enhanced verbal memory for negative words and slowed heart rate, but these effects were not robust. Our findings indicate that physiological manipulations may contribute to differential rates of memory for arousing, emotional stimuli, suggesting that preferential memory for such stimuli might be attributed, in part, to individual differences in physiology. These findings are discussed within both the context of the Laceys' (1974) hypothesis that baro-afferent signaling may be associated with concomitant changes in heart rate and cognitive function and from the perspective that stimulation may affect brain regions involved in emotion and memory processing.
Advisor:Stephen B. Manuck, PhD; Peter J. Gianaros, PhD; J. Richard Jennings, PhD
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/15/2009