Emotional memory systems in the brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The neural mechanisms of emotion and memory have long been thought to reside side by side, if not in overlapping structures, of the limbic system. However, the limbic system concept is no longer acceptable as an account of the neural basis of memory or emotion and is being replaced with specific circuit accounts of specific emotional and memory processes. Emotional memory, a special category of memory involving the implicit (probably unconscious) learning and storage of information about the emotional significance of events, is modeled in rodent experiments using aversive classical conditioning techniques. The neural system underlying emotional memory critically involves the amygdala and structures with which it is connected. Afferent inputs from sensory processing areas of the thalamus and cortex mediate emotional learning in situations involving specific sensory cues, whereas learning about the emotional significance of more general, contextual cues involves projections to the amygdala from the hippocampal formation. Within the amygdala, the lateral nucleus (AL) is the sensory interface and the central nucleus the linkage with motor systems involved in the control of species-typical emotional behaviors and autonomic responses. Studies of cellular mechanisms in these pathways have focused on the direct relay to the lateral amygdala from the auditory thalamus. These studies show that single cells in AL respond to both conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus inputs, leading to the notion that AL might be a critical site of sensory-sensory integration in emotional learning. The thalamo-amygdala pathway also exhibits long-term potentiation, a form of synaptic plasticity that might underlie the emotional learning functions of the circuit. The thalamo-amygdala pathway contains and uses the amino acid glutamate in synaptic transmission, suggesting the possibility that an amino-acid mediated form of synaptic plasticity is involved in the emotional learning functions of the pathway. We are thus well on the way to a systems level and a cellular understanding of at least one form of emotional learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume58
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 1993

Fingerprint

Amygdala
Learning
Brain
Limbic System
Neuronal Plasticity
Thalamus
Cues
Emotions
Amino Acids
Classical Conditioning
Long-Term Potentiation
Information Storage and Retrieval
Synaptic Transmission
Glutamic Acid
Rodentia
Hippocampus

Keywords

  • Emotional learning function
  • Emotional memory system
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Thalamo-hippocampal pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Emotional memory systems in the brain. / Ledoux, Joseph.

In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 58, No. 1-2, 20.12.1993, p. 69-79.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{a2e8ea5456e449eaacc217d5ea2ccbb5,
title = "Emotional memory systems in the brain",
abstract = "The neural mechanisms of emotion and memory have long been thought to reside side by side, if not in overlapping structures, of the limbic system. However, the limbic system concept is no longer acceptable as an account of the neural basis of memory or emotion and is being replaced with specific circuit accounts of specific emotional and memory processes. Emotional memory, a special category of memory involving the implicit (probably unconscious) learning and storage of information about the emotional significance of events, is modeled in rodent experiments using aversive classical conditioning techniques. The neural system underlying emotional memory critically involves the amygdala and structures with which it is connected. Afferent inputs from sensory processing areas of the thalamus and cortex mediate emotional learning in situations involving specific sensory cues, whereas learning about the emotional significance of more general, contextual cues involves projections to the amygdala from the hippocampal formation. Within the amygdala, the lateral nucleus (AL) is the sensory interface and the central nucleus the linkage with motor systems involved in the control of species-typical emotional behaviors and autonomic responses. Studies of cellular mechanisms in these pathways have focused on the direct relay to the lateral amygdala from the auditory thalamus. These studies show that single cells in AL respond to both conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus inputs, leading to the notion that AL might be a critical site of sensory-sensory integration in emotional learning. The thalamo-amygdala pathway also exhibits long-term potentiation, a form of synaptic plasticity that might underlie the emotional learning functions of the circuit. The thalamo-amygdala pathway contains and uses the amino acid glutamate in synaptic transmission, suggesting the possibility that an amino-acid mediated form of synaptic plasticity is involved in the emotional learning functions of the pathway. We are thus well on the way to a systems level and a cellular understanding of at least one form of emotional learning and memory.",
keywords = "Emotional learning function, Emotional memory system, Long-term potentiation, Thalamo-hippocampal pathway",
author = "Joseph Ledoux",
year = "1993",
month = "12",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1016/0166-4328(93)90091-4",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "69--79",
journal = "Behavioural Brain Research",
issn = "0166-4328",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Emotional memory systems in the brain

AU - Ledoux, Joseph

PY - 1993/12/20

Y1 - 1993/12/20

N2 - The neural mechanisms of emotion and memory have long been thought to reside side by side, if not in overlapping structures, of the limbic system. However, the limbic system concept is no longer acceptable as an account of the neural basis of memory or emotion and is being replaced with specific circuit accounts of specific emotional and memory processes. Emotional memory, a special category of memory involving the implicit (probably unconscious) learning and storage of information about the emotional significance of events, is modeled in rodent experiments using aversive classical conditioning techniques. The neural system underlying emotional memory critically involves the amygdala and structures with which it is connected. Afferent inputs from sensory processing areas of the thalamus and cortex mediate emotional learning in situations involving specific sensory cues, whereas learning about the emotional significance of more general, contextual cues involves projections to the amygdala from the hippocampal formation. Within the amygdala, the lateral nucleus (AL) is the sensory interface and the central nucleus the linkage with motor systems involved in the control of species-typical emotional behaviors and autonomic responses. Studies of cellular mechanisms in these pathways have focused on the direct relay to the lateral amygdala from the auditory thalamus. These studies show that single cells in AL respond to both conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus inputs, leading to the notion that AL might be a critical site of sensory-sensory integration in emotional learning. The thalamo-amygdala pathway also exhibits long-term potentiation, a form of synaptic plasticity that might underlie the emotional learning functions of the circuit. The thalamo-amygdala pathway contains and uses the amino acid glutamate in synaptic transmission, suggesting the possibility that an amino-acid mediated form of synaptic plasticity is involved in the emotional learning functions of the pathway. We are thus well on the way to a systems level and a cellular understanding of at least one form of emotional learning and memory.

AB - The neural mechanisms of emotion and memory have long been thought to reside side by side, if not in overlapping structures, of the limbic system. However, the limbic system concept is no longer acceptable as an account of the neural basis of memory or emotion and is being replaced with specific circuit accounts of specific emotional and memory processes. Emotional memory, a special category of memory involving the implicit (probably unconscious) learning and storage of information about the emotional significance of events, is modeled in rodent experiments using aversive classical conditioning techniques. The neural system underlying emotional memory critically involves the amygdala and structures with which it is connected. Afferent inputs from sensory processing areas of the thalamus and cortex mediate emotional learning in situations involving specific sensory cues, whereas learning about the emotional significance of more general, contextual cues involves projections to the amygdala from the hippocampal formation. Within the amygdala, the lateral nucleus (AL) is the sensory interface and the central nucleus the linkage with motor systems involved in the control of species-typical emotional behaviors and autonomic responses. Studies of cellular mechanisms in these pathways have focused on the direct relay to the lateral amygdala from the auditory thalamus. These studies show that single cells in AL respond to both conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus inputs, leading to the notion that AL might be a critical site of sensory-sensory integration in emotional learning. The thalamo-amygdala pathway also exhibits long-term potentiation, a form of synaptic plasticity that might underlie the emotional learning functions of the circuit. The thalamo-amygdala pathway contains and uses the amino acid glutamate in synaptic transmission, suggesting the possibility that an amino-acid mediated form of synaptic plasticity is involved in the emotional learning functions of the pathway. We are thus well on the way to a systems level and a cellular understanding of at least one form of emotional learning and memory.

KW - Emotional learning function

KW - Emotional memory system

KW - Long-term potentiation

KW - Thalamo-hippocampal pathway

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0027731773&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0027731773&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/0166-4328(93)90091-4

DO - 10.1016/0166-4328(93)90091-4

M3 - Article

VL - 58

SP - 69

EP - 79

JO - Behavioural Brain Research

JF - Behavioural Brain Research

SN - 0166-4328

IS - 1-2

ER -