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Title: Emotional memory in people with frontal lobe lesions
Author: Laing, Lucy
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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Studies have consistently shown that emotionally arousing events are better learned and remembered than neutral events. There is wide consensus that this emotional memory advantage is linked to the cognitive and physiological effects of emotional arousal, and that the amygdala plays a key role. However the role of other brain structures is less well understood. The present study aimed to explore the role of emotional responsiveness in emotional memory, by studying a clinical population in whom emotional responsiveness itself is altered. The performance of six people with frontal lobe lesions was compared with that of twelve matched controls, on five emotional memory tasks. Results suggested that emotional memory effects depend upon both how memory is assessed, and the nature of the emotional stimuli. For highly arousing negative stimuli, preserved superiority for emotional material was shown in the frontal group. However frontal participants showed significantly greater difficulty, compared to controls, where valent (but not specifically arousing) stimuli mediated the memory-enhancing effect. This effect was most evident 1) where memory was assessed implicitly, and 2) on a source memory task, where performance of the frontal group was disrupted for positive stimuli. On a test assessing retrieval of autobiographical memories, the frontal group showed greater difficulty in recalling memories, especially in response to negative cue words. These findings are discussed in the context of contemporary literature on emotional memory, in both clinical and normal populations. The contribution of this study to understanding the role of the frontal lobe in aspects of emotional memory is considered and both clinical and research implications are explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available