Post-Encoding Amygdala-Cortical Connectivity Is Related to Valence-Specific Emotional Memory Biases
Sarah Kark1, Elizabeth Kensinger1; 1Boston College
The modulatory role of the amygdala in ‘online’ encoding of emotional events is well-documented, and yet its potential role to modulate human episodic memory during ‘offline’ post-encoding periods in a valence-specific manner has not been clarified. While prior work has shown greater retrieval-related reactivation of visuosensory encoding processes for negative memories, we test the novel hypothesis that increased amygdala-visuosensory coupling following encoding predicts inter-individual differences in the degree of negative memory bias, defined as better memory for negative as compared to positive stimuli. Twenty-nine young adults were scanned as they incidentally encoded negative, positive, and neutral pictures, each briefly preceded by a line-drawing sketch of the picture. Twenty-four hours later, participants were scanned during a surprise recognition memory task in which all of the old sketches and an equal number of new sketches were presented for an Old/New judgement. Resting-state scans were collected immediately before and after encoding, allowing us to measure the relation between inter-individual differences in pre-to-post encoding increases in amygdala resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and negative memory bias. RSFC analyses revealed increased amygdala coupling with visuosensory and frontal regions predicted the degree of negative and positive memory bias, respectively. These findings support the modulatory role of the amygdala following encoding and provide the first demonstration that the targets of modulation are associated with the degree and direction of emotional memory bias. Future work is needed to understand how these post-encoding mechanisms could map on to exaggerated negative memory biases in psychopathology and positive memory biases in aging.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic