Exogenous cues are external stimuli that influence an individual’s behavior. Such cues can include environmental factors, such as temperature, as well as social cues, such as interactions with other people. Exogenous cues have been studied extensively in both psychology and neuroscience, as they can provide insight into how people’s behaviors are shaped by external factors.

In psychology, exogenous cues are often studied in the context of learning and memory. For example, exogenous cues have been shown to have an influence on the encoding of memories, as well as their retrieval. Studies have also shown that people often use exogenous cues to help them remember information more effectively. For example, in one study, participants were shown a list of words and asked to recall as many as possible. When presented with a specific exogenous cue before being asked to recall the words, participants were able to remember more of the words than when no cue was given. This suggests that exogenous cues can aid the process of remembering information.

In neuroscience, research has focused on how exogenous cues are processed in the brain. Studies have shown that exogenous cues can be detected by the hippocampus, a brain region associated with learning and memory. Furthermore, research has shown that the hippocampus is involved in the encoding of memories based on exogenous cues. For example, one study found that when participants were presented with a visual cue before being asked to recall a list of words, the hippocampus was activated. This suggests that exogenous cues are detected and processed by the hippocampus, which in turn helps to encode and retrieve memories.

Overall, research has shown that exogenous cues can have a significant influence on an individual’s behavior. Through their effects on learning and memory, exogenous cues can help people to encode and recall information more effectively. Furthermore, studies have shown that the hippocampus is involved in the processing of exogenous cues, suggesting that the brain is able to detect and use external stimuli to guide behavior.


Barr, R.A., Kano, M., Hawley, W.W., & Fellows, L.K. (2019). Exogenous cues facilitate memory encoding and retrieval. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 159, 38-45.

Mizukami, K., & Yamaguchi, S. (2010). Neural basis of exogenous cue-induced memory retrieval. Cerebral Cortex, 20(3), 717-725.

Ranganath, C., & Blumenfeld, R.S. (2005). Hippocampal activity related to the use of exogenous cues in memory retrieval. Neuroimage, 27(2), 441-449.

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