The researchers investigated test subjects ranging in age from 65 to 75 years, who were given a precursor of dopamine.
Treated subjects performed better in a memory test than a comparison group, who had taken a placebo.
The study provides new insights into the formation of long lasting memories and also has implications for understanding why memories fade more rapidly following the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
"Our investigations for the first time prove that dopamine has an effect on episodic memory. This is the part of long-term memory, which allows us to recall actual events. Occurrences in which we were personally involved," Duzel said.
"Episodic memory is that part of our capacity to remember, which is first affected in Alzheimer's dementia. This is why our results can contribute to a better understanding of the disease," he said.
The results have been published in the "Journal of Neuroscience."