Remember the Feeling

Emotional Impact Can Be Key to Memory

Aug. 6 — If you saw a tornado coming your wq/ tomorrow morning, chances are you'd have a very accurate memory of it, for a very long time. So why cant you remember where you parked your car?

One of the keys to locking in a memory is how much emotion is attached to it.

"I think it's fascinating how some memories stick and others seem to disappear into thin air," says Stephan Hamann, an assistant psychology professor at Emory University who researches this very phenomenon.

Hamann uses functional magnetic resonance imaging, a technique that builds on standard MRI hardware, to chart activity in people's brains as they are shown different pictures and words. ...

"When the amygdala detects emotion, it essentially boosts activity in areas of the brain that form memories," says Hamann. "And that's how it makes a stronger memory and a more vivid memory."

These can range from painful or fearful memories to ones that are slightly more pleasant, such as "the birth of a baby or a wedding."

In Hamann's experiments, test subjects are able to remember twice as many emotional words and pictures as neutral ones.

the enemy tries to preprogram us with fear from these types of experiences which limit us to the reptile brain:

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