Retrieving accurate and distorted memories: neuroimaging evidence for effects of emotion.Neuroimage. 2005 Aug 01; 27(1):167-77.N
While limbic activity is known to be associated with successful encoding of emotional information, it is less clear whether it is related to successful retrieval. The present fMRI study assessed the effects of emotion on the neural processes engaged during retrieval of accurate compared to distorted memories. Prior to the scan, participants (16 young adults) viewed names of neutral (e.g., frog) and emotional (e.g., snake) objects and formed a mental image of the object named. They were shown photos of half of the objects. During the fMRI scan, participants saw object names and indicated whether or not they had seen the corresponding photo. Memory distortions (misattributions) occurred when participants incorrectly indicated whether or not a photo had been studied. Activity in some regions (e.g., L anterior hippocampus) was related to accurate retrieval (correct attributions > misattributions) for emotional and neutral items. However, activity in other regions corresponded with accurate retrieval specifically for emotional items (e.g., in R amygdala/periamygdaloid cortex and L orbitofrontal cortex) or for neutral items (e.g., in lateral inferior prefrontal cortex and R posterior hippocampus). Results indicate that emotional salience modulates the processes engaged during accurate retrieval and that activity in limbic regions corresponds with accurate memory assignment for emotional items. To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate a link between limbic engagement at retrieval and accurate memory attribution.