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Fillmore MT, Kelly TH, Rush CR, Hays L. 
“Retrograde facilitation of memory by triazolam: effects on automatic processes”. 
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Nov 19;158(3):314-21.
Retrieval processes have been implicated as a potential mechanism by which benzodiazepines can produce retrograde memory facilitation.


This study tested the degree to which benzodiazepine-induced retrograde facilitation of memory was due to an enhancement of automatic retrieval processes.


Forty healthy adults were randomly assigned to one of three dose conditions (double-blind), under which they received 0.0 mg (placebo), 0.125 mg, or 0.25 mg of the short-acting benzodiazepine triazolam (Halcion). Subjects studied a list of words just prior to dose administration. One hour after dose administration, subjects performed a word-stem completion task which tested their retrieval of the studied words. A process-dissociation procedure was used to estimate the degree to which retrieval was under the influence of memory processes that were automatic (i.e., unintentional) versus controlled (i.e., intentional).


Subjects who received active doses of triazolam displayed a greater probability of using studied words as stem completions. Estimates of memory processes showed a greater influence of automatic influences during memory retrieval under triazolam doses.


The findings indicate that retrograde memory facilitation following benzodiazepine administration does not necessarily reflect an improved ability to intentionally retrieve information but could instead reflect increased responsiveness to cues that automatically elicit retrieval of pre-drug information.
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