Turning up the Noise or Turning Down the Volume? On the Nature of the Impairment of Episodic Recognition Memory by Midazolam

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episodic recognition memory, memory impairment, midazolam, word-frequency effect, retrieving-effectively-from-memory, memory retrieval

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E. Hirshman, J. Fisher, T. Henthom, J. Amdt, and A. Passanname (2002) found that Midazolam disrupts the mirror-patterned word-frequency effect for recognition memory by reversing the typical hit-rate advantage for low-frequency words. They noted that this result is consistent with dual-process accounts (e.g., R. C. Atkinson & J. F. Juola, 1974; G. Mandler, 1980; A. P. Yonelinas, 1994) of the word frequency effect for recognition memory (S. Joordens & W. E. Hockley. 2000; L. M. Reder et al.. 2000). The present authors show that this finding is also consistent with a variety of single-process, retrieving effectively- from-memory (REM) models (R. M. Shiffrin & M. Steyvers, 1997), the simplest of which assumes that Midazolam decreases the accuracy with which memory traces are stored. These findings therefore do not discriminate between single- and dual-process models of recognition memory.

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v. 30, issue 2, p. 540-549