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The role of dopamine in attentional and memory biases for emotional information

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 13:40 authored by Ayana A Gibbs, Kris H Naudts, Edgar P Spencer, Anthony S David
Abstract OBJECTIVE: Cognitive models suggest that biased processing of emotional information may play a role in the genesis and maintenance of psychotic symptoms. The role of dopamine and dopamine antagonists in the processing of such information remains unclear. The authors investigated the effect of a dopamine antagonist on perception of, and memory for, emotional information in healthy volunteers. METHOD: Thirty-three healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to a single-blind intervention of either a single dose of the dopamine D(2)/D(3) antagonist amisulpride or placebo. An attentional blink task and an emotional memory task were then administered to assess the affective modulation of attention and memory, respectively. RESULTS: A significant interaction was observed between stimulus valence and drug on recognition memory accuracy; further contrasts revealed enhanced memory for aversive-arousing compared with neutral stimuli in the placebo but not the amisulpride group. No effect of amisulpride was observed on the perception of emotional stimuli. CONCLUSIONS: Amisulpride abolished the enhanced memory for emotionally arousing stimuli seen in the placebo group but had no effect on the perception of such stimuli. These results suggests that dopamine plays a significant role in biasing memory toward emotionally salient information and that dopamine antagonists may act by attenuating this bias.


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  • Published


American Journal of Psychiatry




American Psychiatric Association





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  • Clinical and Experimental Medicine Publications

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