Emotional memory: separating content and context

Medford, Nicholas, Phillips, Mary L, Brierley, Barbara, Brammer, Michael, Bullmore, Edward T and David, Anthony S (2005) Emotional memory: separating content and context. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 138 (3). pp. 247-258. ISSN 0925-4927

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Abstract

It is now well established that emotion enhances episodic memory. However, it remains unclear whether the same neural processes underlie enhancement of memory for both emotional stimuli and neutral stimuli encoded in an emotive context. We designed an experiment that specifically attempted to separate these effects and that was validated on 30 participants. We then used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural correlates of encoding and retrieval of the two classes of stimuli in 12 healthy male volunteers. We predicted that aversive emotional context would enhance memory regardless of content and that activation of anterior cingulate would be inversely related to retrieval of aversive items. Both predictions were supported. Furthermore we demonstrated apparent asymmetrical lateralisation of activation in the hippocampal/parahippocampal complex during recognition of words from aversive sentences: more left-sided activation for neutral words from aversive contexts, and more right-sided activation for aversive content words. These findings, if applicable to the wider population, may have application in a range of psychiatric disorders where interactions between emotion and cognition are relevant.
© 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Jonathan Williams
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2015 13:27
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 06:58
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56196

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