Distinct roles of dopamine and noradrenaline in incidental memory

Tobias U. Hauser*, Eran Eldar, Nina Purg, Michael Moutoussis, Raymond J. Dolan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Episodic memory is sensitive to the influence of neuromodulators, such as dopamine and noradrenaline. These influences are considered important in the expression of several known memory biases, though their specific role in memory remains unclear. Using pharmacological agents with relatively high selectivity for either dopamine (400 mg amisulpride) or noradrenaline (40 mg propranolol) we examined their specific contribution to incidental memory. In a double-blind placebo-controlled human study (30 females, 30 males in total), we show that a memory selectivity bias was insensitive to propranolol but sensitive to amisulpride, consistent with a dominant influence from dopamine. By contrast, a putative arousal-induced memory boosting effect was insensitive to amisulpride but was sensitive to propranolol, consistent with a dominant noradrenaline effect. Thus, our findings highlight specific functional roles for dopamine and noradrenaline neurotransmission in the expression of incidental memory.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7715-7721
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number39
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2019

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Copyright © 2019 Hauser et al.


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