How Do We Remember Positive Or Negative Memories? Study Finds

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The Healing Powers Of Emotional Memory

Brain News

Neuroscientists at Boston University provided insights into the positive and negative power of our emotional memory. The study is published in the journal Communications Biology.

The Study

The researchers used optogenetics (an advanced neuroscience tool) on laboratory mice to sort and label positive and negative memories in the brain. They wanted to map the key molecular and genetic differences between positive and negative memory.

The Findings

The results revealed that the brain changes a memory—whether positive or negative—with each recollection. However, the storage, molecular machinery, and memory pathways of both types of memories are different in almost every way.

One of the lead authors, Steve Ramirez, elaborated: “We’re inadvertently applying filters to our past experiences. Memory is less of a video recording of the past, and more reconstructive.

The researchers are enthusiastic that this malleable nature of human memories can be incorporated into mental health interventions for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and memory disorders.

To Know More You May Refer To

Shpokayte, M., McKissick, O., Guan, X., Yuan, B., Rahsepar, B., Fernandez, F. R., Ruesch, E., Grella, S. L., White, J. A., Liu, X. S., & Ramirez, S. (2022). Hippocampal cells segregate positive and negative engrams. Communications Biology, 5(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03906-8

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