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Strong emotions boost long-term memory, study reports

Researchers from the University of New York investigated the impact of emotional experiences on memory. — AFP picResearchers from the University of New York investigated the impact of emotional experiences on memory. — AFP picNEW YORK, Dec 29 — According to a new US study, emotional experiences can change the way the brain records information. Emotional brain states can carry over in time and colour subsequent neutral experiences and the way they are recollected.

Researchers from the University of New York investigated the impact of emotional experiences on memory. According to their findings, exposure to emotionally charged situations improves recollection of more neutral events and this effect can persist for long periods of time.

It has long been known that emotional experiences are remembered better, and now it appears that non-emotional experiences that follow emotional ones are better remembered as well.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers used video sequences of emotive and emotionally neutral scenes.

A first group of study subjects were shown the emotive sequences to begin with, and the neutral sequences some 10 to 30 minutes later.

A second group were initially shown the neutral sequences and then shown the emotive images.

Six hours later, all the study subjects were given a memory test on the images they had seen. Those who had seen the emotive images first had better recall of the neutral images.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers also discovered that brain states associated with emotional experiences continued for 20 to 30 minutes after, and influenced the manner in which subsequent stimuli, including non-emotive ones, were processed.

“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” remarked study author Doctor Davachi.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. — AFP-Relaxnews

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