Emotional Memory Encoding

Emotions have a powerful influences on memory formation. We know that aspects of memory, including how and where in the brain they are formed, can differ depending on the valence of the stimuli. It is theorized that emotional events and experiences tend to be remembered with greater clarity and detail in comparison to unemotional events and experiences. Over the past decade there has been a growing interest in understanding the brain mechanisms associated with the formation of emotional memories. When emotionally arousing stimuli are encountered, the interpretation and significance of that emotional experience influences the neural activity and interactions of different memory regions within in brain. Research studies using fMRI data have been used to identify the neural correlates of emotional memory encoding. The majority of these fMRI studies have provided evidence that there is consistent functional interactions between the amygdala and prefrontal medial temporal lobe structures, which includes the hippocampus. These two systems appear to be responsible for the formation and storage of emotional memories. This meta-analysis aims to identify how emotion influences memory encoding and consolidation, and the brain regions that are associated with emotional memory formation. It also aims to distinguish the contributions of each identified region and structure. It is anticipated that this research and future research of emotional memory could provide insight regarding the neural structures that regulate emotions, which could provide more effective strategies for psychological interventions and treatments.


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