Sex-related lateralized effect of emotional content on declarative memory: an event related potential study.Behav Brain Res. 2006 Apr 03; 168(2):177-84.BB
Several studies suggest that emotional arousal can promote memory storage. In this study, we evaluated the effects of emotional content on declarative memory, utilizing an adaptation of two versions of the same story, with different arousing properties (neutral or emotional), which have been already employed in experiments involving the enhancing effects of emotions on memory retention. We used event related potentials (ERP) to evaluate whether there is a sex-related hemispheric lateralization of electrical potentials elicited by the emotional content of a story. We compared left and right hemisphere P300 waves, recorded in P3 and P4 electrode sites, in response to emotional or neutral stimuli in men and women. In the left hemisphere, emotional stimuli elicited a stronger P300 in women, compared to men, as indexed by both amplitude and latency measures; moreover, the emotional content of the story elicited a stronger P300 in the right hemisphere in men than in women. The better memory for the arousal material may be related to the differential P300 at encoding. These data indicate that both sex and cerebral hemisphere constitute important, interacting influences on neural correlates of emotion, and of emotionally influenced memory.