Emotion, Memory and the Brain; The Hidden Mind; Special Editions; by Joseph E. LeDoux; 10 Page(s)
Despite millennia of preoccupation with every facet of human emotion, we are still far from explaining in a rigorous physiological sense this part of our mental experience. Neuroscientists have, in modern times, been especially concerned with the neural basis of such cognitive processes as perception and memory. They have for the most part ignored the brain's role in emotion. Yet in recent years, interest in this mysterious mental terrain has surged. Catalyzed by breakthroughs in understanding the neural basis of cognition and by an increasingly sophisticated knowledge of the anatomical organization and physiology of the brain, investigators have begun to tackle the problem of emotion.
One quite rewarding area of research has been the inquiry into the relation between memory and emotion. Much of this examination has involved studies of one particular emotion—fear—and the manner in which specific events or stimuli come, through individual learning experiences, to evoke this state. Scientists, myself included, have been able to determine the way in which the brain shapes how we form memories about this basic, but significant, emotional event. We call this process "emotional memory."