State-dependent memory: Neurobiological advances and prospects for translation to dissociative amnesia

Jelena Radulovic*, Royce Lee, Andrew Ortony

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In susceptible individuals, overwhelming traumatic stress often results in severe abnormalities of memory processing, manifested either as the uncontrollable emergence of memories (flashbacks) or as an inability to remember events (dissociative amnesia, DA) that are usually, but not necessarily, related to the stressful experience. These memory abnormalities are often the source of debilitating psychopathologies such as anxiety, depression and social dysfunction. The question of why memory for some traumatic experiences is compromised while other comparably traumatic experiences are remembered perfectly well, both within and across individuals, has puzzled clinicians for decades. In this article, we present clinical, cognitive, and neurobiological perspectives on memory research relevant to DA. In particular, we examine the role of state dependent memory (wherein memories are difficult to recall unless the conditions at encoding and recall are similar), and discuss how advances in the neurobiology of state-dependent memory (SDM) gleaned from animal studies might be translated to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number259
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
StatePublished - Oct 31 2018


  • Animal models
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Episodic memory
  • Excitation/inhibition dynamics
  • Neuronal connectivity
  • Neuronal oscillations
  • State-dependent memory
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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