Neuroscientists Discover Emotional Experiences Can Improve Memory

Emotional experiences can have an impact on future memories. For instance, someone’s first kiss, marriage and pregnancy are very moving experiences and those powerful moments can produce long-lasting memories. However, prior to now, scientists were not too sure how heart-rending incidents affected memory.

Published in the journal of “Nature Neuroscience”, University of California and University of Geneva researchers Arielle Tambini and Ulrike Rimmele, have published a study titled “Emotional brain states carry over and enhance future memory formation”. The results of the study found that emotional experiences led to better memory formations.

In order to test their hypothesis, researchers put people into different groups. The groups looked a several different kinds of images. But, one group was exposed to emotional images prior to regular images. Several hours afterwards, the subjects were tested to see what the remembered.

The group that saw emotion-provoking images first had a better memory recollection than those who saw neutral images then emotional images.

Brain activity

Scientists argue that emotion-provoking images causes the brain to remember things better. “One mechanism that may support prospective memory enhancements is the carry-over of emotional brain states that influence subsequent neutral experiences,” Tambini and Rimmele explained in their study.

Neuroscientists argue that parts of brain that become aroused during memory formation. Memory formations are created by the amygdala, hippocampus and medial temporal lobe.

Ultimately, after an emotional experience, those parts of the remain activated and that impacts future memory recollection. In turn, researchers argue that emotional experiences can impact not only previous memories but also future memories.

Memory collection is more than just remembering the date. It is a complex process that changes based around the external and internal environment. In fact, scientists found out that the way someone breathes has an impact on their memory. Researchers discovered people had better memory when they saw images while they were inhaling through their nose versus exhaling through the nose.


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