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  The impairing effect of acute stress on suppression-induced forgetting of future fears and its moderation by working memory capacity

Ashton, S. M., Benoit, R. G., & Quaedflieg, C. W. E. M. (2020). The impairing effect of acute stress on suppression-induced forgetting of future fears and its moderation by working memory capacity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 104790. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104790.

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 Creators:
Ashton, S. M.1, Author
Benoit, Roland G.2, Author              
Quaedflieg, C. W. E. M.1, Author
Affiliations:
1Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              
2Max Planck Research Group Adaptive Memory, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_2295691              

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Free keywords: Suppression-induced forgetting; Episodic future thinking; Anxiety; Working memory; Acute stress; Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST)
 Abstract: Unwanted imaginations of future fears can, to some extent, be avoided. This is achieved by control mechanisms similar to those engaged to suppress and forget unwanted memories. Suppression-induced forgetting relies on the executive control network, whose functioning is impaired after exposure to acute stress. This study investigates whether acute stress affects the ability to intentionally control future fears and, furthermore, whether individual differences in executive control predict a susceptibility to these effects. The study ran over two consecutive days. On day 1, the working memory capacity of one hundred participants was assessed. Thereafter, participants provided descriptions and details of fearful episodes that they imagined might happen in their future. On day 2, participants were exposed to either the stress or no-stress version of the Maastricht Acute Stress Test, after which participants performed the Imagine/No-Imagine task. Here, participants repeatedly imagined some future fears and suppressed imaginings of others. Results demonstrated that, in unstressed participants, suppression successfully induced forgetting of the episodes’ details compared to a baseline condition. However, anxiety toward these events did not differ. Acute stress was found to selectively impair suppression-induced forgetting and, further, this effect was moderated by working memory capacity. Specifically, lower working memory predicted a susceptibility to these detrimental effects. These findings provide novel insights into conditions under which our capacity to actively control future fears is reduced, which may have considerable implications for understanding stress-related psychopathologies and symptomatologies characterized by unwanted apprehensive thoughts.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-06-302020-03-232020-07-022020-07-06
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104790
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Project name : -
Grant ID : VI.Veni.191 G.004
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Funding organization : Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

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Title: Psychoneuroendocrinology
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Oxford : Pergamon
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 104790 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0306-4530
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925514499