Glucose improves object-location binding in visual-spatial working memory

Brian T Stollery, Leonie M Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
431 Downloads (Pure)



There is evidence that glucose temporarily enhances cognition and that processes dependent on the hippocampus may be particularly sensitive. As the hippocampus plays a key role in binding processes, we examined the influence of glucose on memory for object-location bindings.


This study aims to study how glucose modifies performance on an object-location memory task, a task that draws heavily on hippocampal function.


Thirty-one participants received 30 g glucose or placebo in a single 1-h session. After seeing between 3 and 10 objects (words or shapes) at different locations in a 9 × 9 matrix, participants attempted to immediately reproduce the display on a blank 9 × 9 matrix. Blood glucose was measured before drink ingestion, mid-way through the session, and at the end of the session.


Glucose significantly improves object-location binding (d = 1.08) and location memory (d = 0.83), but not object memory (d = 0.51). Increasing working memory load impairs object memory and object-location binding, and word-location binding is more successful than shape-location binding, but the glucose improvement is robust across all difficulty manipulations. Within the glucose group, higher levels of circulating glucose are correlated with better binding memory and remembering the locations of successfully recalled objects.


The glucose improvements identified are consistent with a facilitative impact on hippocampal function. The findings are discussed in the context of the relationship between cognitive processes, hippocampal function, and the implications for glucose’s mode of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-547
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Early online date18 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Glucose
  • Episodic memory
  • Spatial memory
  • Working memory
  • Object-location memory
  • Binding
  • Complexity
  • Hippocampus
  • Human


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