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      Memory and motivational/emotional processes

      1 , 2

      Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

      Frontiers Media S.A.

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          As we know from our own experiences and the findings of many studies, emotional events are remembered with greater accuracy, vividness, and persistency compared to events lacking an emotional component (LaBar and Cabeza, 2006; Roozendaal and McGaugh, 2011). How emotional memory is controlled and regulated? This question has fascinated scientists and clinicians for a long time; in fact, the field focused on memory and motivational/emotional processes represents one of the fastest growing areas of neuroscience research. The selectivity that arousal creates is generally beneficial, as emotionally arousing situations in our lives are worth remembering, so that they can be savored and/or instructive. From an evolutionary point of view, it seems logical that a confrontation with an emotionally arousing event, such as a stressful one, is better remembered than a neutral one, resulting in a more adequate motivation to react in a similar situation. Why emotional arousal enhances memory? Taking into account that neural processes initiated by an experience perseverate and consolidate over time, a possible explanation is that emotional arousal could activate neurobiological processes that modulate the consolidation of memories of recent experiences. This special issue includes original papers and review articles that cover cutting-edge research in the interplay between memory, motivation, and emotion, providing the reader with what is up and coming with respect to research findings, theoretical advances, and methodological techniques. Many of the current “hot” topics in the field are covered, including the involvement of specific cerebral regions on the interaction between memory and motivational/emotional processes, the contribution of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, and the role of arousal and stress. The enhanced memory for emotional events has been attributed to the involvement and interaction of brain regions, in particular between the amygdala and other areas such as the hippocampal formation and prefrontal cortex (Phelps, 2004; Richter-Levin, 2004; McIntyre et al., 2012). The amygdala is active during emotional situations, and this activity influences the encoding and consolidation of the memory trace for the emotional event (McGaugh, 2004). On the light of previous evidence, some papers of this special issue focus on the role of specific neural regions in the interplay between memory and motivational/emotional processes, such as cortical and mesocorticolimbic areas (Martínez-Moreno et al., 2011; El Rawas et al., 2012; Holloway-Erickson et al., 2012; Puglisi-Allegra and Ventura, 2012), hippocampal formation (Hori et al., 2011; Garín-Aguilar et al., 2012), amygdala, substantia nigra, and striatum (Salado-Castillo et al., 2011; Wolf et al., 2011), septal nuclei (Matsuyama et al., 2011), nucleus accumbens (Núñez-Jaramillo et al., 2012), and autonomic nervous system (Garcia et al., 2011). Another group of papers analyzes the role and interaction of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, such as catecholamines (Puglisi-Allegra and Ventura, 2012), endocannabinoids (Campolongo et al., 2012), acetylcholine and glucocorticoids (Fornari et al., 2012; Sánchez-Resendis et al., 2012) on memory and motivational/emotional processes. In order to highlight the impact of motivation and emotion on memory, functional neuroimaging techniques were used, including multichannel electroencephalography (EEG) (Arnone et al., 2011; Garcia et al., 2011; Uribe et al., 2011) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) (Jepma et al., 2012; Rosales-Lagarde et al., 2012). Moreover, taking into account that recent studies have revealed seemingly large, but previously unsuspected, sex-related influences on the well-known mechanism that emotional events are better memorized than neutral events, this special issue includes evidence of sex-related differences in memory and talkativeness for emotional stimuli (Arnone et al., 2011). Finally, considering that in recent years a key conceptual issue, that warrants attention, is the fact that many studies examining emotional memory have focused on the highly arousing nature of emotional stimuli or experimental contexts, as the key component contributing to the enhancement of memory, some papers of this special issue discuss the involvement of arousal and stress in the interplay between memory, motivation, and emotion (Cruciani et al., 2011; Uribe et al., 2011; Packard and Goodman, 2012). In conclusion, we hope that this special issue have provided evidence of the important and rapid progresses in this very interesting and relevant topic, and may give a significant contribution to the knowledge of how memory can be affected by emotional experiences, and related motivation. Then, taking into account that this emergent field is in continuous and fast growing, we strongly hope that the present special issue may motivate many neuroscientists to conduct other studies, paving the way for the next great theories and advances.

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          Most cited references 24

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          The amygdala modulates the consolidation of memories of emotionally arousing experiences.

           James McGaugh (2003)
          Converging findings of animal and human studies provide compelling evidence that the amygdala is critically involved in enabling us to acquire and retain lasting memories of emotional experiences. This review focuses primarily on the findings of research investigating the role of the amygdala in modulating the consolidation of long-term memories. Considerable evidence from animal studies investigating the effects of posttraining systemic or intra-amygdala infusions of hormones and drugs, as well as selective lesions of specific amygdala nuclei, indicates that (a) the amygdala mediates the memory-modulating effects of adrenal stress hormones and several classes of neurotransmitters; (b) the effects are selectively mediated by the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA); (c) the influences involve interactions of several neuromodulatory systems within the BLA that converge in influencing noradrenergic and muscarinic cholinergic activation; (d) the BLA modulates memory consolidation via efferents to other brain regions, including the caudate nucleus, nucleus accumbens, and cortex; and (e) the BLA modulates the consolidation of memory of many different kinds of information. The findings of human brain imaging studies are consistent with those of animal studies in suggesting that activation of the amygdala influences the consolidation of long-term memory; the degree of activation of the amygdala by emotional arousal during encoding of emotionally arousing material (either pleasant or unpleasant) correlates highly with subsequent recall. The activation of neuromodulatory systems affecting the BLA and its projections to other brain regions involved in processing different kinds of information plays a key role in enabling emotionally significant experiences to be well remembered.
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            Memory modulation.

            Our memories are not all created equally strong: Some experiences are well remembered while others are remembered poorly, if at all. Research on memory modulation investigates the neurobiological processes and systems that contribute to such differences in the strength of our memories. Extensive evidence from both animal and human research indicates that emotionally significant experiences activate hormonal and brain systems that regulate the consolidation of newly acquired memories. These effects are integrated through noradrenergic activation of the basolateral amygdala that regulates memory consolidation via interactions with many other brain regions involved in consolidating memories of recent experiences. Modulatory systems not only influence neurobiological processes underlying the consolidation of new information, but also affect other mnemonic processes, including memory extinction, memory recall, and working memory. In contrast to their enhancing effects on consolidation, adrenal stress hormones impair memory retrieval and working memory. Such effects, as with memory consolidation, require noradrenergic activation of the basolateral amygdala and interactions with other brain regions. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved.
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              Interacting brain systems modulate memory consolidation.

              Emotional arousal influences the consolidation of long-term memory. This review discusses experimental approaches and relevant findings that provide the foundation for current understanding of coordinated interactions between arousal activated peripheral hormones and the brain processes that modulate memory formation. Rewarding or aversive experiences release the stress hormones epinephrine (adrenalin) and glucocorticoids from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. The effect of these hormones on memory consolidation depends upon binding of norepinephrine to beta-adrenergic receptors in the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA). Much evidence indicates that the stress hormones influence release of norepinephrine in the BLA through peripheral actions on the vagus nerve which stimulates, through polysynaptic connections, cells of the locus coeruleus to release norepinephrine. The BLA influences memory storage by actions on synapses, distributed throughout the brain, that are engaged in sensory and cognitive processing at the time of amygdala activation. The implications of the activation of these stress-activated memory processes are discussed in relation to stress-related memory disorders. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Behav Neurosci
                Front Behav Neurosci
                Front. Behav. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-5153
                02 November 2012
                2012
                : 6
                Affiliations
                1Department of Applied Clinical and Biotechnologic Sciences, University of L'Aquila L'Aquila, Italy
                2Laboratory of Neurosciences and Behavior, Department of Physiological Sciences, Institute of Biology, University of Brasília Brasília, Brazil
                Author notes

                Edited by: Carmen Sandi, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland

                Reviewed by: Carmen Sandi, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland

                Article
                10.3389/fnbeh.2012.00071
                3487156
                23129995
                Copyright © 2012 Gasbarri and Tomaz.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 26, Pages: 2, Words: 1600
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Editorial Article

                Neurosciences

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