Poster D66, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Transient and sustained processes involved in encoding emotional information
Kyle A Kurkela1, Rosalie Samide1, Maureen Ritchey1; 1Boston College
When considering the influence of emotion on memory encoding, we can distinguish between two types of processes: transient processes that support memory for the emotional significance of individual memoranda and sustained processes that support memory modulation by affective states. In past emotional memory studies, these two types of processes have often been intertwined and have focused primarily on event-related responses to emotional information. In this study, we sought to distinguish between the transient and sustained processes supporting emotional learning. FMRI data were collected while participants learned about neutral object images that were presented in blocks associated with distinct visual contexts. For each block, participants were cued to learn that the objects were “bombs” or “safe.” To imbue the bomb objects with emotional significance and to induce anxiety during threat contexts, bomb objects were accompanied by an unpredictable white noise burst on 25% of trials (compared to a non-aversive neutral tone for safe objects). Immediately after encoding, participants completed a retrieval phase that assessed item recognition and emotional source memory. We found that brain activity during encoding distinguished between the threat and safe contexts in areas previously linked to threat avoidance, such as the caudate nucleus. In contrast, MTL regions, such as the perirhinal cortex, were associated with transient changes in activity that predicted subsequent memory for item-emotion associations. Future analyses will assess the relationship between sustained and transient activity changes. These results will shed new light on how learning about emotional information is modulated by ongoing affective states.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic