Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - EMOTIONAL MEMORY (Effects of emotion and stress on different memory phases)

The researcher Ulrike Rimmele (University of Geneva) coordinates the Emotional Memory Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, whose major aim is to characterize the behavioural and neurobiological processes that underlie the effects of emotion and stress on different stages of memory. To achieve this aim, the CIG comprises three studies targeting three different memory phases. Study 1 aims to characterize the neuronal processes underlying the consolidation processes of emotional vs. neutral memories, Study 2 aims to understand the neural correlates of emotional memory retrieval under the influence of a cortisol synthesis inhibitor, Study 3 aims to investigate whether stress does affect emotional memory reconsolidation.
In the first 24 months of the CIG, behavioural as well as neuroimaging data was acquired for studies 1 and 2. For study 3, a few behavioural pilot versions were run. The main research progress was as follows:
Study 1: Neutral memory was enhanced following presentation of emotional stimuli. Neuroimaging data is currently analyzed. This finding may be of high relevance for learning in educational settings. Better knowledge of how to exploit this mechanism may lead to enhanced learning.
Study 2: Administration of 1 g metyrapone significantly decreased cortisol levels and impaired free recall of emotional, but not neutral texts. One week later, participants still showed decreased retrieval for emotional texts. Neuroimaging data is currently analyzed. . This finding could have a big impact for psychological disorders, such as phobias. In these conditions, cortisol suppression might proof to be helpful to decrease the negative memories over time.
Study 3: Emotion suppression at encoding decreased the subjective sense of remembering. This paradigm is currently adapted to assess emotion suppression effects on reconsolidation. Teaching emotion regulation strategies that could deliberately be applied during exposure of emotional or neutral events might help the prevention of traumata.
All the potential implications described above for application/impact of my results of course need further investigation.
Findings were disseminated in three publication in international peer-reviewed Journals (,, ), 14 poster presentations and three oral presentations at national and international conferences.
The Marie Curie Career Integration grant together with support from the host institution (the University of Geneva) has help Ulrike Rimmele to develop her independent research career. In particular the fact that the Marie Curie Career integration grant is paid as a lump sum has been proven to be very beneficial as it allowed to flexibly spend the money for hiring a research assistant and equipment when needed. Currently Ulrike Rimmele is working on an application for a professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, with which she will hopefully be able to continue her academic career and obtain a permanent position at a Psychology or Neuroscience Department and establish her own laboratory and research program in the field of cognitive and affective neurosciences.

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