Neural correlates of emotional memories: A review of evidence from brain imaging studies

Florin Dolcos, Ekaterina Denkova, Sanda Dolcos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

What are the neural markers of encoding and retrieving emotional events with increased efficacy? In recent years, this question has captured the attention of cognitive neuroscientists who fervently engaged in addressing it using a multitude of approaches. The present review discusses evidence from brain imaging studies investigating the neural correlates of the memory-enhancing effect of emotion in healthy human participants. The available evidence points to two main mechanisms: one direct involving the medial temporal lobe (MTL), and the other indirect involving the prefrontal cortex (PFC), among other brain regions. Recent studies also showed that these mechanisms are sensitive to aspects relevant to social interactions, as well as to personality-, sex- and age-related differences. Overall, this evidence provides insights into the brain mechanisms that make emotional memories special, and points to possible alterations that could lead to negative affective biases in encoding and remembering emotional memories observed in affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-111
Number of pages32
JournalPsychologia
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Neuroimaging
Brain
Temporal Lobe
Interpersonal Relations
Prefrontal Cortex
Mood Disorders
Personality
Healthy Volunteers
Emotions

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Emotion-cognition interactions
  • Hippocampus
  • Individual differences
  • Modulation hypothesis
  • Neuroimaging
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Neural correlates of emotional memories : A review of evidence from brain imaging studies. / Dolcos, Florin; Denkova, Ekaterina; Dolcos, Sanda.

In: Psychologia, Vol. 55, No. 2, 15.10.2012, p. 80-111.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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