How (and why) emotion enhances the subjective sense of recollection

Elizabeth A. Phelps, Tali Sharot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A growing body of evidence suggests emotion boosts memory accuracy to an extent but affects the subjective sense of recollection even more. The result is vivid memories for emotional events that are held with confidence but that may be surprisingly inaccurate in their details. We examine the neural circuitry underlying emotion's impact on memory and the subjective sense of recollection to provide insight into this puzzling phenomenon. This research suggests that for emotional stimuli the quality and strength of memory for a few details may mediate judgments of recollection, whereas for neutral stimuli the quantity of contextual details may be more important. Finally, we speculate that the enhanced subjective sense of recollection with emotion, in the absence of absolute veridicality, may have evolved to enable fast and unambiguous decision making in emotional situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Fingerprint

Emotions
Decision Making
Research

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Emotion
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • Recollection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

How (and why) emotion enhances the subjective sense of recollection. / Phelps, Elizabeth A.; Sharot, Tali.

In: Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 17, No. 2, 04.2008, p. 147-152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{862f09ac433c497c8a0cc1d00a5b0fe4,
title = "How (and why) emotion enhances the subjective sense of recollection",
abstract = "A growing body of evidence suggests emotion boosts memory accuracy to an extent but affects the subjective sense of recollection even more. The result is vivid memories for emotional events that are held with confidence but that may be surprisingly inaccurate in their details. We examine the neural circuitry underlying emotion's impact on memory and the subjective sense of recollection to provide insight into this puzzling phenomenon. This research suggests that for emotional stimuli the quality and strength of memory for a few details may mediate judgments of recollection, whereas for neutral stimuli the quantity of contextual details may be more important. Finally, we speculate that the enhanced subjective sense of recollection with emotion, in the absence of absolute veridicality, may have evolved to enable fast and unambiguous decision making in emotional situations.",
keywords = "Amygdala, Emotion, Hippocampus, Memory, Recollection",
author = "Phelps, {Elizabeth A.} and Tali Sharot",
year = "2008",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00565.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "17",
pages = "147--152",
journal = "Current Directions in Psychological Science",
issn = "0963-7214",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - How (and why) emotion enhances the subjective sense of recollection

AU - Phelps, Elizabeth A.

AU - Sharot, Tali

PY - 2008/4

Y1 - 2008/4

N2 - A growing body of evidence suggests emotion boosts memory accuracy to an extent but affects the subjective sense of recollection even more. The result is vivid memories for emotional events that are held with confidence but that may be surprisingly inaccurate in their details. We examine the neural circuitry underlying emotion's impact on memory and the subjective sense of recollection to provide insight into this puzzling phenomenon. This research suggests that for emotional stimuli the quality and strength of memory for a few details may mediate judgments of recollection, whereas for neutral stimuli the quantity of contextual details may be more important. Finally, we speculate that the enhanced subjective sense of recollection with emotion, in the absence of absolute veridicality, may have evolved to enable fast and unambiguous decision making in emotional situations.

AB - A growing body of evidence suggests emotion boosts memory accuracy to an extent but affects the subjective sense of recollection even more. The result is vivid memories for emotional events that are held with confidence but that may be surprisingly inaccurate in their details. We examine the neural circuitry underlying emotion's impact on memory and the subjective sense of recollection to provide insight into this puzzling phenomenon. This research suggests that for emotional stimuli the quality and strength of memory for a few details may mediate judgments of recollection, whereas for neutral stimuli the quantity of contextual details may be more important. Finally, we speculate that the enhanced subjective sense of recollection with emotion, in the absence of absolute veridicality, may have evolved to enable fast and unambiguous decision making in emotional situations.

KW - Amygdala

KW - Emotion

KW - Hippocampus

KW - Memory

KW - Recollection

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=42149152674&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=42149152674&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00565.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00565.x

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 147

EP - 152

JO - Current Directions in Psychological Science

JF - Current Directions in Psychological Science

SN - 0963-7214

IS - 2

ER -