, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 487–492 | Cite as

Dissociative effects of scopolamine on working memory in healthy young volunteers

  • J. M. Rusted
Original Investigations


Performance on tasks of digit span, mental rotation and immediate free recall of supraspan word lists was measured before and after oral administration of 1.2 mg scopolamine or placebo to healthy young volunteers. Digit span and mental rotation were sensitive to task-specific interference from articulatory suppression and spatial tapping tasks, respectively. Neither task was affected by scopolamine when completed alone or in combination with a secondary task. A concurrent secondary task reduced immediate free recall in a nonspecific fashion (i.e., spatial tapping or articulatory suppression impaired performance equally). Scopolamine significantly reduced the number of words recalled under all conditions. The results are interpreted as evidence for selective impairment of the central executive mechanism by scopolamine without disruption of function in the articulatory loop or visuospatial scratch pad.

Key words

Scopolamine Cholinergic system Man Working memory Cognition 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Rusted
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ReadingWhiteknights, ReadingUK

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