High estradiol levels improve false memory rates and meta-memory in highly schizotypal women
Hodgetts, S.; Hausmann, M.; Weis, S.
Psychiatry Research 229(3): 708-714
ISSN/ISBN: 1872-7123 PMID: 26292620 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.08.016
Overconfidence in false memories is often found in patients with schizophrenia and healthy participants with high levels of schizotypy, indicating an impairment of meta-cognition within the memory domain. In general, cognitive control is suggested to be modulated by natural fluctuations in oestrogen. However, whether oestrogen exerts beneficial effects on meta-memory has not yet been investigated. The present study sought to provide evidence that high levels of schizotypy are associated with increased false memory rates and overconfidence in false memories, and that these processes may be modulated by natural differences in estradiol levels. Using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm, it was found that highly schizotypal participants with high estradiol produced significantly fewer false memories than those with low estradiol. No such difference was found within the low schizotypy participants. Highly schizotypal participants with high estradiol were also less confident in their false memories than those with low estradiol; low schizotypy participants with high estradiol were more confident. However, these differences only approached significance. These findings suggest that the beneficial effect of estradiol on memory and meta-memory observed in healthy participants is specific to highly schizotypal individuals and might be related to individual differences in baseline dopaminergic activity.