Mechanisms of emotional arousal and lasting declarative memory

Trends Neurosci. 1998 Jul;21(7):294-9. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(97)01214-9.


Neuroscience is witnessing growing interest in understanding brain mechanisms of memory formation for emotionally arousing events, a development closely related to renewed interest in the concept of memory consolidation. Extensive research in animals implicates stress hormones and the amygdaloid complex as key, interacting modulators of memory consolidation for emotional events. Considerable evidence suggests that the amygdala is not a site of long-term explicit or declarative memory storage, but serves to influence memory-storage processes in other brain regions, such as the hippocampus, striatum and neocortex. Human-subject studies confirm the prediction of animal work that the amygdala is involved with the formation of enhanced declarative memory for emotionally arousing events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Memory / classification
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology


  • Corticosterone
  • Epinephrine