Negative emotional experiences during navigation enhance parahippocampal activity during recall of place information

Edgar Chan, Oliver Baumann, Mark A Bellgrove, Jason B Mattingley

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11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is known that the parahippocampal cortex is involved in object-place associations in spatial learning, but it remains unknown whether activity within this region is modulated by affective signals during navigation. Here we used fMRI to measure the neural consequences of emotional experiences on place memory during navigation. A day before scanning, participants undertook an active object location memory task within a virtual house in which each room was associated with a different schedule of task-irrelevant emotional events. The events varied in valence (positive, negative, or neutral) and in their rate of occurrence (intermittent vs. constant). On a subsequent day, we measured neural activity while participants were shown static images of the previously learned virtual environment, now in the absence of any affective stimuli. Our results showed that parahippocampal activity was significantly enhanced bilaterally when participants viewed images of a room in which they had previously encountered negatively arousing events. We conclude that such automatic enhancement of place representations by aversive emotional events serves as an important adaptive mechanism for avoiding future threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-64
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

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title = "Negative emotional experiences during navigation enhance parahippocampal activity during recall of place information",
abstract = "It is known that the parahippocampal cortex is involved in object-place associations in spatial learning, but it remains unknown whether activity within this region is modulated by affective signals during navigation. Here we used fMRI to measure the neural consequences of emotional experiences on place memory during navigation. A day before scanning, participants undertook an active object location memory task within a virtual house in which each room was associated with a different schedule of task-irrelevant emotional events. The events varied in valence (positive, negative, or neutral) and in their rate of occurrence (intermittent vs. constant). On a subsequent day, we measured neural activity while participants were shown static images of the previously learned virtual environment, now in the absence of any affective stimuli. Our results showed that parahippocampal activity was significantly enhanced bilaterally when participants viewed images of a room in which they had previously encountered negatively arousing events. We conclude that such automatic enhancement of place representations by aversive emotional events serves as an important adaptive mechanism for avoiding future threats.",
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Negative emotional experiences during navigation enhance parahippocampal activity during recall of place information. / Chan, Edgar; Baumann, Oliver; Bellgrove, Mark A; Mattingley, Jason B.

In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 26, No. 1, 01.2014, p. 154-64.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Negative emotional experiences during navigation enhance parahippocampal activity during recall of place information

AU - Chan, Edgar

AU - Baumann, Oliver

AU - Bellgrove, Mark A

AU - Mattingley, Jason B

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N2 - It is known that the parahippocampal cortex is involved in object-place associations in spatial learning, but it remains unknown whether activity within this region is modulated by affective signals during navigation. Here we used fMRI to measure the neural consequences of emotional experiences on place memory during navigation. A day before scanning, participants undertook an active object location memory task within a virtual house in which each room was associated with a different schedule of task-irrelevant emotional events. The events varied in valence (positive, negative, or neutral) and in their rate of occurrence (intermittent vs. constant). On a subsequent day, we measured neural activity while participants were shown static images of the previously learned virtual environment, now in the absence of any affective stimuli. Our results showed that parahippocampal activity was significantly enhanced bilaterally when participants viewed images of a room in which they had previously encountered negatively arousing events. We conclude that such automatic enhancement of place representations by aversive emotional events serves as an important adaptive mechanism for avoiding future threats.

AB - It is known that the parahippocampal cortex is involved in object-place associations in spatial learning, but it remains unknown whether activity within this region is modulated by affective signals during navigation. Here we used fMRI to measure the neural consequences of emotional experiences on place memory during navigation. A day before scanning, participants undertook an active object location memory task within a virtual house in which each room was associated with a different schedule of task-irrelevant emotional events. The events varied in valence (positive, negative, or neutral) and in their rate of occurrence (intermittent vs. constant). On a subsequent day, we measured neural activity while participants were shown static images of the previously learned virtual environment, now in the absence of any affective stimuli. Our results showed that parahippocampal activity was significantly enhanced bilaterally when participants viewed images of a room in which they had previously encountered negatively arousing events. We conclude that such automatic enhancement of place representations by aversive emotional events serves as an important adaptive mechanism for avoiding future threats.

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