FMRI Studies of Successful Emotional Memory Encoding

The investigation reflects issues connected with emotional memory. Particularly, it is the examination of episodic memory formation using fMRI and EEG. It was stated by scientists that brain activity during the encoding phase could forecast if the issue would be remembered or not in the test phase. For example, men and women have different emotional memory. Scientists from Stanford University scanned the brains of 12 men and 12 women, and they were shown a series of 96 images, some of which were neutral, boring, and other emotionally-charged, or alarming (Murty, Ritchey, Adcock, & Labar, 2010). Three weeks later, participants were shown the same images plus 48 new and proposed to recall any of the 144 images they are already familiar with. To summarize results, they organized them in tables using the quantitative design of the research.

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As a result, men and women remembered boring pictures to the same extent while women remembered emotionally charged scenes 10-15 percent better. Besides, during the scanning of emotionally charged images, different parts of the brain of men and women became more active. The left side of the brain of women shone brighter than the right one, men’s brains scanning represented the opposite situation. Since the left side of the brain is associated with speech, researchers suggested that viewing emotional scenes evoked in women’s internal dialogue contributed to a better memorization of these pictures.

Therefore, the scanning forecasted that emotional pictures would be better remembered by women rather than by men. The outcome of the study allows predicting the behavior of the person to some extent that is important in planning different activities, or at work.


Murty, V. P., Ritchey, M., Adcock, R. A., & Labar, K. S. (2010). FMRI studies of successful emotional memory encoding: A quantitative meta-analysis. Neuropsychologia, 48(12), 3459-3469.

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