, Volume 205, Issue 1, pp 11–20 | Cite as

Glucose modulates event-related potential components of recollection and familiarity in healthy adolescents

  • Michael A. Smith
  • Leigh M. Riby
  • Sandra I. Sünram-Lea
  • J. A. M. van Eekelen
  • Jonathan K. Foster
Original Investigation



Behavioural evidence supports the notion that oral glucose ingestion enhances recognition memory judgements based on recollection, but not familiarity. The present study sought to clarify and extend upon these behavioural findings by investigating the influence of glucose administration on event-related potential (ERP) components that are thought to be differentially mediated by recollection and familiarity processes in healthy adolescents.


In a within-subjects design, participants performed a recognition memory task, during which time electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded, subsequent to ingestion of either (a) glucose or (b) placebo in a counterbalanced order.


Response times during the recognition memory task were observed to be faster for the glucose condition, relative to a placebo control. Further, glucose ingestion was associated with an enhanced left parietal old/new ERP effect (a marker of recollection) and an enhanced mid-frontal old/new ERP effect (known to be mediated by familiarity).


These findings (a) support the results of previous research that the ‘glucose memory facilitation effect’ can be extended to healthy adolescents, but (b) suggest that glucose enhances both the recollection and familiarity components of recognition memory. The observed ERP profile has important implications for the proposal that glucose specifically targets the hippocampus in modulating cognitive performance.


Recognition memory Glucose Event-related potentials Adolescents 



Michael Smith was the recipient of an Experimental Psychology Society Study Visit Grant and a University of Western Australia Convocation Travel Award at the time that the data reported here were collected.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Smith
    • 1
  • Leigh M. Riby
    • 2
  • Sandra I. Sünram-Lea
    • 3
  • J. A. M. van Eekelen
    • 4
  • Jonathan K. Foster
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Paediatrics and Child HealthUniversity of Western Australia, Princess Margaret Hospital for ChildrenPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre, Division of PsychologyNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  4. 4.Developmental Neuroscience Group, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Centre for Child Health ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia
  6. 6.Neurosciences Unit, Health Department of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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