Dexamphetamine enhances explicit new word learning for novel objects

Emma Whiting, Helen Chenery, Jonathan Chalk, Ross Darnell, David A. Copland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Past research suggests that dexamphetamine (Dex) can facilitate learning and memory in healthy individuals and after a neurological lesion. This study investigated the effects of Dex on the learning of names for new objects in young healthy adults (n=37) within an explicit learning paradigm by using a double-blind, placebo-controlled between- subjects design. Participants received 10 mg Dex or a placebo each morning over five consecutive days before viewing 100 novel objects with non-word names plus matched fillers. Compared to the placebo, Dex enhanced both the rate of learning and the retention of the words 1 wk and 1 month later. The improved word learning correlated with baseline attention and memory scores for participants in the Dex group only. No correlations were observed between word-learning success and sustained attention, mood or cardiovascular arousal. It was concluded that the improved explicit word learning may have reflected dexamphetamine-induced changes in short-term memory and/or memory consolidation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-816
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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