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Emotion and Memory

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Emotion and Memory

Hello and welcome to the course introduction to advanced cognitive processes I am Ark Vermafrom IIT Kanpur and we are in the 7 th week of the course.We started this week talking about the interaction between cognition and emotion, we are tryingto link the effects of emotional states mood states on attention and memory and we havebeen talking about those things.We will continue our discussion about the same kind of interaction today as well . So,one of the important kinds of memories that people harbour or people come across are referto as the Flashbulb memory . Flashbulb memories are memories for eventsthat are you know highly dramatic or highly positively you know life changing events.So, most people you know we will tell you that they have a very good memory for thetime of their lives when they were going through dramatic events say for example, dramaticevents in the world at large say for example, 9 11 for the United States or 26 11 for Indiaor say for example, you know winning of the in 2011 world cup I mean both kinds of positiveor negative dramatic events and people would remember things like you know the assassinationof Rajiv Gandhi for that matter or so many different things.So, a lot of people will tell you like you know I remember these, I remember informationaround these events rather vividly and they show you a high degree of confidence in thesekind of things.So, this is these kind of the memories for these kind of events this kind of dramaticevents both positive and negative is a referred to as flashbulb memories you know these eventsare also I have talked about this in a memory chapter in the other course a lot.So, I will this kind of you know revise that a little bit for people .So, you know these kind of events that happen at the time of your life when significantchanges are coming things like you know where the point when you got your first job, thepoint when you got married, what were your mental condition at that point denying whatwas happening around you . So, the idea is in individual lives as well or in broadlyas I was mentioning 9 11, 26 11 you know assassination of Rajiv Gandhi if and those kind of thingspeople tend to have better memory for these events.So, Brown and Kulik they basically in 1997 they proposed that dramatic events that aresurprising have genuine consequences and they these genuine consequences have in individualtrigger they basically trigger a special kind of a neural mechanism and this neutral mechanismwhat it does is it prints the details of such events in a more or less permanent sort ofa manner in your head.So, the idea is they are saying Brown and Kulik are saying that these events becausethey are so high in significance they are kind of automatically affecting the way youare going to encode this information and this encoding is basically going to stay therefor almost your entire life, but this proposal has been cross viewed and cross examined.So, Talalrico and Rubin in 2009 rather recently and they reviewed a lot of research on flashbulbmemories and they concluded that nothing very special about the flashbulb memories in particularin terms of the underlying processing that is going on in the brain.So, maybe this individual trigger that you know the Brown and Kulik are talking aboutis is not really happening there in terms at least in terms of neural processes .Flashbulb memory is seem especially vivid because they typically refer to these distinctiveevents and sometimes suffer.So, little interference from other memories because these are standout events you knowthey are not things that you can easily mix up with other kinds of memories, also oneof the things and I have talked about this earlier as well also one of the things aboutflashbulb memories is that you kind of keep hearing and rehearing them again and again. Suppose for example, you know significantevent happens today and next day it is in the news the other day, it is in you knowsome parallel debates somebody is discussing about that you go to your school or college,workplace, your colleagues and friends are talking about it you come back you kind oftelling your family about it a little bit . So, the idea is these kind of things alsothis, this revision is rehearsal that multiple repetitive rehearsal that is going on mightalso be affecting how you are kind of encoding these things .So, flashbulb memories in that sense are important and they are certainly special memories thatpeople keep on and the people show a better recall at least for a long time.Now, let me talked about a different kind of memories recovered memories if you haveread any of the literature you know from Sigmund Freud or if you want to really kind of geta peek into this you can go to the earlier course when I have talked about the historyof psychology Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential psychologists you know andone of the things that he talked about persistently was the effects of you know major dramaticevents like childhood sexual abuse you know and those kind of things and the kind of memoriesthat are generated by that the idea is that those memories would scar in individual forlife.So, Freud had a different kind of a take with this and he suggested that these kind of memoriesthe memories for dramatic events often you know cannot be consciously recalled in youradult life because these have been repressed suppressed and in some sense your it ego andyou know in some sense your thing is you know is trying to protect you against these things. So, the idea is that these memories for dramaticevents to a subjected to what is referred to as motivated forgetting and they are relegatedto the unconscious mind, you remember Freud talks about that there is you know the consciousmind, subconscious mind and unconscious mind . So, they are saying unconscious mind isthe depths of your head and that is where these unpleasant information have been lockeddown and sent off.But it has been intermittently reported that you know sometimes in their adult lives peoplesuddenly remember these memories, suddenly they recover these kind of memories the repressionis kind of loosened and something triggers the recall of such memories you know . So,these memories which were repressed earlier and they is suddenly come back are what isreferred to as the recovered memories.So, the notion of recovered memories has been rather controversial because a lot of researchershave said that this might not really be real memories after all these might be memoriesthat basically are false memories you know and sometimes are even referring to eventsthat actually did not happen and you kind of you know the people, who are dealing withthese recovered memories are kind of at be because they did not remember anything likethis happened in their own lives for a such a long time and suddenly the they are thekind of get these flashback suddenly they get this knowledge that this might also havehappened . But there is; obviously, a great doubt indetail grout great debate between whether these record memories are genuine or not.So, that there could be a way to really talk about this whole life .And fell to which they basically in a study on adult patients admitted when they showedthat a lot of patients admitted having false memories 80 percent of their cases the therapisthas suggested to them you know suggested to them that they had been victims of childhoodsexual abuse etcetera and what these people probably did is consciously or subconsciouslyreconstructed events where something might like that might have happened even thoughin reality some nothing of that sort might have happened.So, again you know these kind of therapeutic things might kind have a different kind ofconsequences as well.Now Geraerts and colleagues in 2007 they wanted to check the genuineness of these you knowrecovered memories and so they had 3 groups of patients they had patients who had reportedrecovered memories while they were in therapy while they were in contact with the psychologistsand we were having these therapeutic sessions .And they had another group who said that they had recovered these memories outside therapythey were not taking any therapy it was not suggested by anybody, but they suddenly themselvesstarted recalling these kind of things and then there was a third group a continuousyou know memory group which basically had all of these memories throughout their life.So, they had not never really forgotten that anyways.So, the 3 groups over there and Geraerts basically a Geraerts and colleagues they basically youknow wanted to get and approximate measure of the genuineness of whatever memories thesepeople have been reporting and they basically asked them to provide corroborating evidence.So, this is what happened in your life can you give us some supporting evidence by youknow way of dates names people you know who kind of confirm your account those kind ofthings.So, they asked these people to come up with corroborating evidence about these particularmemories . Now a very interesting thing happens so whilethe continuous memory group; obviously, because, they have not even forgotten these thingscould provide most 45 percent of the evidence, the outside therapy group would also givekind of comparable evidence around 37 - 38 percent, but most interestingly the groupthat had reported recovering these memories inside therapy could not come up with a singleevidence shade . So, the idea is probably what is happeningwith these people is that when they are in therapy, they are in a highly suggestiblestate and this person in a position of power here the psychologist is suggesting that ifyou know that I think your problems are because you were you know sexually abused in yourchildhood or somebody has mistreated you and those kind of things and a lot of times whathappens is these suggestions lead to formation of memories you know the human mind is a ratherconstructive.We have talked about constructive effects of memory at length in one of the coursesof you want to really refer back go back to the last course and kind of go through thememory lectures I have talked about these things, but the idea is what is happeningwith these reconstruct recovered memories is probably the people are reporting you knoware just kind of constructing them because of high suggestibility .Now even though Freud basically suggested that memories recovered outside therapy couldreturn as repressed memories because they are dramatic memories Clancy and McNally in2005 and 6 they found that a great majority of adults who reported recovered memoriesdescribed them as confusing or uncomfortable, but none of them all or only a very few 8percent of them described them as being dramatic.So, I mean again that that came also does not really hold a lot of water .Now, in alternative explanation could be that most spontaneously recovered memories happenbecause they are they might have been recalled because of some environmental cues somethingvisiting the same place where something might have happened or meeting the same person after10 20 30 years those kind of cues might be used to bring back these kind of memoriesso, that is a very important aspect.Clancy and McNally basically you reported support for this kind of explanation and thekind of reported that yes participants did to report that these memories were recoveredbecause they were doing something or they were engaging with information that couldhave acted as cue . So, that is a little bit about the recovered memories . Now, let usmove on to a different topic let us move on to a memories and the emotions and what thebrain has to do with it . So, a strong effects of emotion on memoryhave been mediated I mean they are certainly mediated by several of the regions of thebrain that deal with you know emotional appraisal expression and comprehension, but most importantorgan and the most important area of the brain in perceiving emotions is the amygdale.Now the amygdala basically is buried in the front part of the temporal lobe and is associatedwith several emotions processing.So, what is happen is, one of the reasons being that it acts as a hub.So, one of the reasons why amygdala might be so, important in perception and computationof emotions is that amygdala acts as a hub for numerous connections to different kindsof brain regions and it has connections to up to 90 percent of the entire cortex .Now there is already lot of evidence about the fact that amygdala is you know much involvedin our processing of emotional stimuli for example, Suslow and colleagues in 2 thousand10 they presented pictures of happy and sad faces to participants in such a way that theycould not have been consciously seen they would presented for a very short duration,in spite of not being consciously accessible these pictures of sad and happy expressionsdid activate the amygdala and activations of amygdala were recorded so, that is onepart . Patient suffering from depression were foundto have greater amygdala activity 2 sad faces than 2 happy ones whereas, healthy controlshowed more amygdala activity to happy face then sad one.So, you know the kind of emotion that is processing or that is relevant to you that you are kindof paying more attention to is showing greater amygdala activity.So, both of the groups of the participants are showing greater amygdala activations toyou know faces or expressions that are matching their current mood state.Again kind of confirms the msbm and mcm kind of things we are talking about.Now, one of the ways to show that amygdala plays a very important part in determininglong term memory for emotional material could be to show that the amygdala is importantfor learning of such materials.So, if you can show that you know during the learning of such kind of a material amygdalaactivation is there, during the encoding such material amygdala activation is there, thenwhether recall is happening and again you find similar amygdala activation when youcan kind of link these 2 things very cleanly.So, a relative prediction could be that you know emotional items being remembered willbe greater you know will be greater when they are associated with high levels of amygdalaactivity at the time of learning.This is precisely what happens in Murty and colleagues 2010 study, they conducted a metaanalysis that they are not really conducting experiment study they kind of collected conducteda meta analysis of several studies and they did obtain support for the prediction, goodlong term memory for emotional material was associated with higher activation at the timeof learning, in the network of brain regions including amygdala and other parts of thetemporal lobe that are involved with memory.Other kind of research has suggested that the effects of being in an emotional stateat the time of learning are specially great on subjective vividness you know the amountof detail that you will recall if you are in a particular kind of emotional state mightbe very interesting might be too much . So, Kensinger and colleagues in 2011 theyassessed amygdala activities while participants studied emotional and neutral objects youknow things that have some emotional value and then again neutral objects.Amygdala activity at learning predicted the vividness of recall you know the kind of detailsthey would be able to come up with for these kind of objects, but did not really predictthe number of details, but the vividness how clearly how confidently you are you are rememberingabout these things . I would talk about interesting disease theURBACH - WIETHE DISEASE.The URBACH WIETHE disease is basically one in which the amygdala and the adjacent areasof the brain are destroyed and then there is a reduction in the intensity of emotionalexperience so, people whose amygdala is damaged people whose amygdala in entire adjacent regionsare damaged.So, Chaill and colleagues in 1995 they studied BP, BP was suffering from UWD and he was basicallyin an experimental setting told the story in the middle of fish.There is a very emotionally charged event that occurs there is a boy who kind of suffersa major accident and loses his leg, healthy control showed much better recall of thisemotionally charged event because; obviously, emotions enhance memory, but BP this patientof UWD on the other hand recalled the emotional event less well than the neutral parts orthe preceding parts of the story . So, that kind of tells you that how importantamygdala is in processing of emotional information amygdala is also involved in memory for positiveinformation as well as negative information .Siebert and colleagues in 2013 they compared the long term memory for positive negativeand neutral pictures in healthy controls and 10 UWD patients, what they found was thatpoor recognition was showed for memory for all picture categories, but their memory impairmentwas greater for positive pictures and least for neutral ones.So, in the patience of UWD they are able to they are much less able to appreciate positiveemotions and you know or emotional material in general .So, in summary if I just try to sum it up several findings on patients suffering fromUWD have been reported and they have been compared and contrasted with healthy individualsemotional tasks memory tasks and those kind of things in both cases there is solid evidencethat the amygdala does play a very important role in enhanced memory for emotional information.That is all from my side in this lecture we will continue talking about cognition andemotion in the next lecture .