Role of memory processes in the emotion regulation of naturalistic events
Samide, Rosalie. “Role of memory processes in the emotion regulation of naturalistic events”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109396.
Regulating negative emotions that arise while recalling an unpleasant event presents a persistent challenge. As a reconstructive process, recall offers an opportunity to ease the burden of repeated regulation by updating negative memories, with the potential for long-term reductions in the negative affect associated with a memory. However, little is known about the recall-related brain processes that support lasting effects of emotion regulation on episodic memories. Across three studies, the current project examined the behavioral and neural correlates of regulating emotionally negative memories. First, a stimulus database of real-life news videos optimized for studying naturalistic emotional memory was developed. Then, the behavioral effects of two emotion regulation strategies, memory reappraisal and memory suppression, were tested. Finally, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate the brain processes associated with lasting reappraisal-related changes in memory valence. We found that reappraisal was associated with lasting reductions in the negative valence of naturalistic memories, whereas suppression had no effect on memory valence. We also found that recall-related activity in lateral occipital cortex was associated with a reappraisal-mediated reduction in negative valence 24-hours after reappraisal. These results suggest that brain processes involved in the initial retrieval of negative content also support the emotion regulation of those memories, consistent with research showing that memory reactivation is critical for robust memory updating.