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emotional memory

memory for events that evoke an emotional response. Emotional memories can be either implicit (nonconscious) or explicit (conscious). In laboratory studies with nonhuman animals, implicit emotional memory is demonstrated through such phenomena as conditioned fear (see avoidance conditioning) and freezing behavior; additional paradigms exist to study implicit emotional memory in humans. Explicit emotional memory is manifested when individuals reexperience the original emotions engendered by an event (e.g., terror when describing an accident, joy when describing a close family member’s wedding). Functional neuroanatomy suggests that the encoding process for implicit emotional memories centers around the amygdala in the subcortical portions of the limbic system, and adrenergic and dopaminergic mechanisms in particular. Indeed, a person whose amygdala is damaged may calmly recall the details of a traumatic event without showing any residual fear in relation to that event. In contrast, encoding of explicit emotional memories involves the cortical regions of the limbic system, such as the hippocampus. Emotional memory is distinct from the more general phenomenon of enhanced storage and retrieval of emotional stimuli, which for example is seen when experimental participants recall aversive nouns from a word list better than they recall neutral items. Also called affective memory.

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Psychology term of the day

March 2nd 2024

motor speech disorder

motor speech disorder

any of several communication disorders arising from inaccurate production of speech sounds because of lack of strength or coordination of the muscles involved in speaking, as occurs in cerebellar ataxia or Parkinson’s disease.