Remembering the specific visual details of presented objects: neuroimaging evidence for effects of emotion

Neuropsychologia. 2007 Oct 1;45(13):2951-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.05.024. Epub 2007 Jun 14.


Memories can be retrieved with varied amounts of visual detail, and the emotional content of information can influence the likelihood that visual detail is remembered. In the present fMRI experiment (conducted with 19 adults scanned using a 3T magnet), we examined the neural processes that correspond with recognition of the visual details of negative and neutral items. Results revealed that a region of the left fusiform gyrus corresponded with retrieval of visual details for both negative and neutral items. Activity in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, in contrast, was related to retrieval of visual details only for negative items. Activity in these regions corresponded only with successful recognition, and not with false recognition, providing strong evidence that limbic engagement during retrieval does not correspond merely with a person's belief that detail has been recognized. Rather, limbic engagement appears to relate specifically to the successful recognition of information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*