The Retrieval Orientation and Strategical Retrieval of Emotional Memory: Behavioral and Erp Studies(1/2)

Project Details


Emotional memories are more durable, vivid, detailed than neutral memories. Many behavioral, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies have examined the cognitive operations and neural mechanisms that make emotional memories different from other types of memories. Most of these studies focused on the encoding and consolidation of emotional memory. Nevertheless, the functionality of memory also relies on retrieval. The understanding of emotional memory would be incomplete without the investigation of its retrieval processes. The success of retrieval is contingent on how a retrieval cue is processed prior to its interaction with the targeted memory traces. The processing of a retrieval cue could be varied in a pre-retrieval operation, referred to as “retrieval orientation”, to optimize the compatibility between the cue and the memory trace. A benefit of adopting a specific retrieval orientation is to prevent the retrieval of irrelevant information through strategical recollection. Evidence for retrieval orientation has been reported in studies that manipulated various kinds of mnemonic variables including encoding modalities, material types, and encoding tasks, reflecting the flexibility of retrieval cue processing. However, very few studies examined the modulation of emotion on the processing of the retrieval cues and the control of recollection. The current study aims to employ event-related brain potential (ERP) experiments to examine the retrieval orientation and strategical retrieval of emotional memory, focusing on the correct rejection trials when participants are prompted to retrieve emotionally valenced and neutral memories. The emotional memories will be generated by presenting emotionally neutral to-be-remembered items in neutral, positive, or negative encoding contexts. In the following recognition test, only neutral testing items are presented so that there will be no contamination of emotional effects from valenced stimuli presented during retrieval. Five experiments are proposed to investigate (1) whether the processing of the retrieval cues would be different between emotional and neutral memories; (2) whether the retrieval orientation effects for emotional memories could be dissociated between arousal and valence; (3) whether the study-test delay modulates retrieval orientation of neutral and emotional memories; (4) whether memories of different emotional valences are of different extents to be strategically retrieved; and (5) whether the retrieval orientation effect of emotional memory could be dissociated into sustained and transient activities.It is expected that the experiments proposed here will advance our understanding of the interaction between the memory and emotion from both the perspectives of cognitive and neurophysiological operations. It is also anticipated that the findings will lay the groundwork for future studies of memory and mood disorders.
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/07/21


  • Memory Retrieval
  • Retrieval Orientation
  • Strategic Retrieval
  • Emotional Memory
  • ERPs


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