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The Memory ProcessNeuroscientific and Humanistic Perspectives$
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Suzanne Nalbantian, Paul M. Matthews, and James L. McClelland

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014571

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014571.001.0001

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Emotional Memory Processing: Synaptic Connectivity

Emotional Memory Processing: Synaptic Connectivity

Chapter:
(p.153) 7 Emotional Memory Processing: Synaptic Connectivity
Source:
The Memory Process
Author(s):

Joseph E. LeDoux

Valérie Doyère

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262014571.003.0008

This chapter examines what is currently known about the neural basis of fear memory, emphasizing implicit, unconscious emotional memory. It discusses how fear memories are acquired, consolidated, and reconsolidated, and considers broader implications of reconsolidation research, in particular, that after retrieval, while the memory is destabilized and before it is reconsolidated, a brief window of opportunity exists for memory dampening, and possibly even erasure. It also shows how fear memories can be created in a laboratory setting, utilizing the paradigm of Pavlovian fear conditioning. Under this paradigm, an initially neutral stimulus acquires the ability to control conditioned responding and becomes a “conditioned stimulus” after being associated with a biologically salient “unconditioned stimulus.” This paradigm was adapted subsequently to focus on aversive conditioning, in which the unconditioned stimulus is an unpleasant, fearful, or even painful stimulus.

Keywords:   neural basis, fear memory, emotional memory, reconsolidation research, memory dampening, Pavlovian fear conditioning, conditioned stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, aversive conditioning

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