The Neural Basis of the Episodic Retrieval of Emotional Memories
Prof M Rugg & Prof R Dolan
Description of Project:
Using both electrophysiology and haemodynamic imaging techniques, we investigated the neural mechanisms and dynamics underlying the ability to retrieve information about emotionally salient events, and to use that information to guide appropriate behavioural responses. We showed engagement of distinct cognitive processes and neural structures during the retrieval of emotionally salient vs. neutral information, and characterised processes which where dependent upon or independent of task requirements and response accuracy. We identified a network of medial temporal and frontal lobe structures whose functional connectivity was modulated both by the retrieved material itself, and by the relevance of that material to current task requirements, indicating top-down control processing. We have ongoing collaborations investigating how these networks may be disrupted in certain clinical populations, such as patients with PTSD.
Smith APR, Stephan KE, Rugg MD, Dolan RJ (2006) Task and content modulate amygdala-hippocampal connectivity in emotional retrieval. Neuron. 49(4):631-8.