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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 18;110 Suppl 2:10402-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301209110. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Making lasting memories: remembering the significant.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3800, USA. jlmcgaug@uci.edu

Abstract

Although forgetting is the common fate of most of our experiences, much evidence indicates that emotional arousal enhances the storage of memories, thus serving to create, selectively, lasting memories of our more important experiences. The neurobiological systems mediating emotional arousal and memory are very closely linked. The adrenal stress hormones epinephrine and corticosterone released by emotional arousal regulate the consolidation of long-term memory. The amygdala plays a critical role in mediating these stress hormone influences. The release of norepinephrine in the amygdala and the activation of noradrenergic receptors are essential for stress hormone-induced memory enhancement. The findings of both animal and human studies provide compelling evidence that stress-induced activation of the amygdala and its interactions with other brain regions involved in processing memory play a critical role in ensuring that emotionally significant experiences are well-remembered. Recent research has determined that some human subjects have highly superior autobiographic memory of their daily experiences and that there are structural differences in the brains of these subjects compared with the brains of subjects who do not have such memory. Understanding of neurobiological bases of such exceptional memory may provide additional insights into the processes underlying the selectivity of memory.

PMID:
23754441
PMCID:
PMC3690616
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1301209110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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