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Brain dynamics associated with recollective experiences of emotional events

Weymar, Mathiasa; Löw, Andreasa; Schwabe, Larsb; Hamm, Alfons O.a

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833d180a
COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
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In this study, we used high-density event-related potentials to investigate the brain dynamics underlying the recollective experience for emotional and neutral pictures. Using the remember/know procedure, 12 male participants introspectively indicated whether their recognition was based on conscious recollection (remembered) or familiarity (known). The results show a higher rate of remember responses for emotional relative to neutral pictures, despite an equivalent memory accuracy. In the event-related potentials, the subjective recollective experience for emotional pictures relative to neutral pictures was accompanied by an enhanced old/new effect (500–800 ms) over parietal scalp locations. The results provide electrocortical evidence for a contribution of the parietal old/new effect to the enhanced vividness of individuals' emotional memories and indicate that emotions enhance the subjective belief of recognizing memories.

aDepartment of Biological and Clinical Psychology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald

bDepartment of Cognitive Psychology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Correspondence to Mathias Weymar, PhD, Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, University of Greifswald, Franz-Mehring-Strasse 47, Greifswald 17487, Germany

Tel: +49 3834 863715; fax: +49 3834 863790; e-mail: mathias.weymar@uni-greifswald.de

Received 14 May 2010 accepted 9 June 2010

The study was conducted at the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.