The effects of scopolamine on working memory in healthy young volunteers

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1988;96(2):145-52. doi: 10.1007/BF00177553.


Twenty healthy young adults completed a series of nonverbal and problem solving tasks in a repeated measures design involving placebo and 0.6 mg scopolamine, administered by subcutaneous injection. Subjects completed the test battery under standard presentation conditions and with concurrent articulation, which precludes verbal recoding of test material. Under standard presentation conditions, scopolamine significantly impaired performance on the problem solving task and on tasks of visuo-spatial and spatial memory; memory for abstract shapes was not impaired. Concurrent articulation impaired performance on the shape recognition and interacted with drug treatment on the problem solving task. The results suggest that scopolamine impairs working memory, and that the decrement is at the level of the central executive mechanisms rather than the subsystems which it controls.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology*
  • Space Perception / drug effects


  • Scopolamine