Effects of emotional valence on retrieval-related recapitulation effects and subjective memory vividness
Sarah Kark1, Ryan Daley1, Elizabeth Kensinger1; 1Boston College
While many studies have examined memory reactivation (or ‘recapitulation’) of encoding processes during retrieval, few have examined the effects of valence (negative vs. positive) on recapitulation or memory vividness. We recently (Bowen, Kark & Kensinger, in press) proposed a model for the divergence between negative and positive memories: greater recapitulation in visual regions for negative memories, compared to positive memories. Here we test a prediction of this model in a new dataset, asking: Does activation in recapitulated visual regions track with memory vividness in a valence-specific way? Here, participants studied line-drawings of negative, positive, and neutral photos followed by the complete photo. After a 24-hour delay, participants completed a surprise recognition memory test. During test, participants were shown all of the previously studied line-drawings and an equal number of unstudied line-drawings. Participants indicated if they thought each line-drawing was new or—if they thought it was old—they rated memory vividness. Critically, low-level visual features were controlled at the item level, allowing us to examine emotional memory effects beyond any stimulus-related effects of visual complexity. We replicated our prior work demonstrating recapitulation in visual processing regions and the parahippocampal cortex for negative memories. While memory vividness was correlated with activation in the hippocampus across valence categories, we demonstrate valence-specific effects of memory vividness in a region of fusiform gyrus that also showed negative memory recapitulation effects. The current study provides support for our model that recapitulation of the visual processing regions supports long-term memory and subjective vividness for negative memories.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic