Recollection of emotional autobiographical memories (AMs) is important to healthy cognitive and affective functioning--remembering positive AMs is associated with increased personal well-being and self-esteem, whereas remembering and ruminating on negative AMs may lead to affective disorders. Although significant progress has been made in understanding the brain mechanisms underlying AM retrieval in general, less is known about the effect of emotion on the subjective re-experience of AMs and the associated neural correlates. This is in part due to the fact that, unlike the investigations of the emotion effect on memory for laboratory-based microevents, often times AM studies do not have a clear focus on the emotional aspects of remembering personal events. Here, we present a protocol that allows investigation of the neural correlates of recollecting emotional AMs using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Cues for these memories are collected prior to scanning by means of an autobiographical memory questionnaire (AMQ), therefore allowing for proper selection of emotional AMs based on their phenomenological properties (i.e., intensity, vividness, personal significance). This protocol can be used in healthy and clinical populations alike.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)