Psychosocial stress exposure impairs memory retrieval in children.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jan; 37(1):125-36.P
Negative consequences of stress on working memory and delayed memory retrieval have been observed in adult humans. Little is known about the occurrence of similar effects in children. Forty-four German full-term children, aged 8-10 years, were randomly assigned to a stressful (Trier Social Stress Test for Children--TSST-C) or to a non-stressful control condition. Afterwards, delayed memory retrieval was tested using a computerized version of the well-known card game "Memory". It contained positive, neutral and negative stimuli. In addition, working memory of verbal and non-verbal material was assessed. The stressed children showed pronounced cortisol increases accompanied by a decrease in mood. Children exposed to the stressor performed poorer in the delayed memory retrieval test (memory card game). They committed more errors. No differences were found for working memory. The stress-induced memory retrieval impairment mirrors findings in adults. In contrast, the missing working memory effects could suggest developmental differences in stress sensitivity.