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Nat Neurosci. 2004 Dec;7(12):1376-80. Epub 2004 Nov 21.

How emotion enhances the feeling of remembering.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, New York University, Room 863, 6 Washington Place, New York, New York 10003, USA.

Abstract

Studies examining memories of arousing 'real-life' events show that emotion heightens the feeling of remembering, without necessarily enhancing the objective accuracy of the memories. We measured brain activity associated with the feeling of remembering emotional and neutral photos. Subjects indicated whether recognition was accompanied by a recollection of details about the study episode ('remember') or not ('know'). 'Remember' judgments were boosted for emotional photos, but accuracy did not differ. For neutral photos, 'remember' judgments were related to enhanced activity in the parahippocampal cortex, previously related to recognition of visual details, which one might expect to supply the retrieval clues for a 'remember' judgment. In contrast, 'remember' judgments for emotional photos were associated with enhanced activity in the amygdala, suggesting that subjects rely on arousal and perceptual fluency to evaluate these memories. For the first time, we identify the neural mechanisms underlying the enhanced feeling of remembering for emotional events.

PMID:
15558065
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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