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We can remember different dates and events, as well as emotions. The so-called emotional memory. This specific type of memory can help in some aspects of human life and even harm in others. Emotional memory is not yet well understood, but some aspects of it are already known, such as differences in emotional memory in men and women, as well as differences in its functioning related to human age.

There are several types of memory, such as short-term and long-term memory or working memory. Some authors add the so-called emotional memory. The relationship between emotions and memory processes is not entirely clear, however, some connections are fairly easy to establish.

As an example, it is enough to give the possibility of e.g. considerable sadness or anger while remembering the details of an already ended relationship. There is also a chance that a given person will remember very well the emotions he experienced in the past - here, as an example, you can give feelings related to mourning the loss of a very close person and memories of incredible sadness associated with it.

Aspects of emotional memory are still de alt with by many psychologists and scientists - although the knowledge about this type of memory is still insufficient, there are already some hypotheses regarding the functioning of emotional memory.

Mechanisms related to the functioning of emotional memory

The main structure of the brain, which is considered to be the superior center for remembering emotional stimuli, is the amygdala. As a result of experiencing very strong emotions, there is an increased release of one of the neurotransmitters - noradrenaline - within the structures of the central nervous system. Norepinephrine stimulates the amygdala, and this structure in turn stimulates other brain centers where memories are preserved - for example, we are talking about the hippocampus.

The amygdala is the main structure associated withemotional memory , but certainly not the only one. Particular researchers mention parts of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex or even the cerebellum are involved in remembering emotions. Fr.However, hormones can also have an influence on these processes - here we can give an example of glucocorticosteroids, the secretion of which increases as a result of experiencing significant emotions. The effect of steroids on the brain may be to strengthen the memory of those emotional states that led to the increased release of these hormones.

A quite interesting mechanism related to emotional memory is the relationship between recalled emotional states and the current mood. It turns out that positive emotions are much easier to recall when a person is in a good mood. It is similar in the case of low mood, e.g. related to depression - in its course, the patient's thoughts may focus on unpleasant and negative emotions experienced in the past.

Emotional memory: how do emotions affect remembering?

Emotional states can not only be remembered themselves, but also experiencing them can affect how all sorts of other information are remembered. A very simple example can be given here: a person who is highly emotionally agitated may talk to another person about some important aspects (e.g. about the dates of planned trips), however - due to the experienced emotions - it may come to a situation in which this information will not be remembered at all. However, memories about the strong emotions experienced in a given situation can be stored in the memory then.

How long the information about the experienced emotions will be stored in the memory may depend on the type of experienced feelings. It is sometimes noticed that positive emotions are usually remembered for longer, while negative feelings disappear from memory faster.

Emotional memory varies by gender and age

It is not uncommon to find that women are more emotional. This may be related to the phenomena related to emotional memory - it is richer precisely within this gender. Women remember more emotional stimuli, and in addition, in the case of representatives of this sex, the advantage in remembering emotions over other information that can be remembered is more noticeable.

Emotional memory undergoes some changes as we age. There is a view that older people remember positive emotions better, and that negative emotions are lost from their memory relatively quickly. This may be related to changes in the reactivity of the amygdala. In young people, it may be more stimulated by negative emotions,and the less positive. In the case of older people, the reactivity of the amygdala to different, even completely extreme emotions, may be the same.

Emotional memory: what is its role in human life?

The emotions remembered by a person play a kind of protective role, but they can also simply make life difficult. Emotional memory includes, for example, memories of feelings that a given person experienced after the end of a relationship. They can help in functioning, if only because the person will avoid entering into relationships with people similar to those on whom they have already been disappointed. On the other hand, emotional memory can also be harmful, because the remembered emotional stimuli can be so unpleasant for a person that he may not want to engage in further interpersonal relationships.

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