Where were you when you heard about the terrorist attack on the world trade center? Can you remember receiving your high school diploma, your first kiss? Very likely you are able to remember these emotional events. Emotions have a profound impact on what we learn and keep in mind and thus influence who we are. In particular, emotions affect various stages of memory, i.e. encoding, consolidation, retrieval, and reconsolidation. Stress hormones, i.e. glucocorticoids as well as catecholamines released upon an emotionally arousing experience influence emotion’s effects on all stages of memory formation. The major aim of my research is to characterize the behavioural and neurobiological processes that underlie the effects of emotion and stress on different memory stages. To study this topic, I use human experimentation combining behavioural studies, pharmacological manipulations and neuroimaging techniques. Using these various approaches, I am creating a research framework that integrates the cognitive and affective level with the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.
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