Effects of Stress on Learning and Memory

Jonathan C Gewirtz, A. K. Radke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Memories are sometimes enhanced by stress and at other times diminished. A unified conceptual framework is herein developed to identify the circumstances in which these opposing effects of stress are likely to be seen. Significant contributory factors appear to be the nature of the stressor, the nature of the learning task, and the relationship between the two. Stimulation of glucocorticoid receptors and activation of the amygdala are common to both types of effect. The challenge of future research is to further characterize downstream mechanisms that determine how these neural responses to stress promote or prevent memory formation under different circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780080914558
ISBN (Print)9780080453965
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Amygdala
  • Eyeblink conditioning
  • Fear conditioning
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hippocampus
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
  • Norepinephrine
  • Spatial learning
  • Stress
  • Sympathetic-adrenal medullary system


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