Triazolam-induced amnesia and the word-frequency effect in recognition memory: Support for a dual process account

Miriam Z. Mintzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Acute administration of the benzodiazepine hypnotic drug triazolam induces temporary amnesia. The present double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures experiment used triazolam-induced amnesia to test predictions of the dual process account of the word frequency effect in recognition memory (the reliably observed finding that low frequency words have higher hit rates and lower false alarm rates than high frequency words) in 28 healthy adult volunteers. According to the dual process account (Joordens & Hockley, 2000; Reder et al., 2000), the hit rate component of the word frequency effect is driven by recollection, whereas the false alarm rate component is driven by familiarity. Based on evidence that triazolam produces relatively greater impairment in recollection-based recognition than in familiarity-based recognition, the dual process account would predict that the hit rate effect should be eliminated or reversed in the triazolam condition, but that the false alarm rate effect should be relatively unaffected by drug condition. These predictions were confirmed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Benzodiazepine
  • Recognition memory
  • Triazolam
  • Word frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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