Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

This 2019 German human study found: “A critical role of BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] methylation in human amygdala response to negative emotional stimuli, whereby: High BDNF methylation rates were for the first time shown to be associated with a high reactivity in the amygdala; and High BDNF methylation and high amygdala reactivity were associated with … Continue reading Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

Non-emotional memories

This 2019 US review covered memory mechanisms: “With memory encoding reliant on persistent changes in the properties of synapses, a key question is how can memories be maintained from days to months or a lifetime given molecular turnover? It is likely that positive feedback loops are necessary to persistently maintain the strength of synapses that … Continue reading Non-emotional memories

Prenatal stress produces offspring who as adults have cognitive, emotional, and memory deficiencies

This 2018 French/Italian/Swiss rodent study used a prenatally restraint stressed (PRS) model to create problems that could be resolved by various chemicals: “S 47445 is a positive modulator of glutamate AMPA-type receptors, possessing neurotrophic and enhancing synaptic plasticity effects as well as pro-cognitive and anti-stress properties. Most of studies examining the antidepressant effects of new … Continue reading Prenatal stress produces offspring who as adults have cognitive, emotional, and memory deficiencies

An emotional center of our brains

This 2018 McGill/UC San Diego rodent study subject was the dentate gyrus area of the hippocampus: “Early life experience influences stress reactivity and mental health through effects on cognitive-emotional functions that are, in part, linked to gene expression in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus. The hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) is a major site for experience-dependent … Continue reading An emotional center of our brains

Advance science by including emotion in research

This 2015 analysis of emotion studies found: “Emotion categories [fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and happiness] are not contained within any one region or system, but are represented as configurations across multiple brain networks. For example, among other systems, information diagnostic of emotion category was found in both large, multi-functional cortical networks and in the thalamus, … Continue reading Advance science by including emotion in research

The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

This 2016 Italian human review considered the lower brain’s contributions to an individual’s behavior and temperament: “In evidencing associations between personality factors and neurobiological measures, it seems evident that the cerebellum has not been up to now thought as having a key role in personality. Cerebellar volumes correlate positively with novelty seeking scores and negatively … Continue reading The cerebellum’s role in human behavior and emotions

Emotional memories create long-term epigenetic changes

This 2015 German rodent study found: “Histone modifications predominantly changed during memory acquisition and correlated surprisingly little with changes in gene expression. Although long-lasting changes were almost exclusive to neurons, learning-related histone modification and DNA methylation changes also occurred in non-neuronal cell types, suggesting a functional role for non-neuronal cells in epigenetic learning.” Chromatin modifications … Continue reading Emotional memories create long-term epigenetic changes

The emotional power of environmental sounds affects our sensory experiences

This 2015 Chinese/Australian study found: “Human emotions systematically track changes in the acoustic environment, affecting not only how we experience those sounds but also how we perceive facial expressions in other people. Three changes in acoustic attributes known to signal emotional states in speech and music [frequency spectrum, intensity, and rate] were imposed upon 24 … Continue reading The emotional power of environmental sounds affects our sensory experiences

Conclusions without evidence regarding emotional memories

The last sentence in the Significance section of this 2015 Emory/Harvard rodent study was: “These data highlight the potential to exploit sensory system plasticity as a means of ameliorating negative emotional memories that may be tied to peripheral sensory systems.” The “ameliorating negative emotional memories” part of this statement was incongruent with what the study … Continue reading Conclusions without evidence regarding emotional memories

Who’s responsible for your physical and emotional health?

This 2015 Houston human study measured 575 metabolites in 72 biochemical pathways. The researchers used “nontargeted metabolomics” with next-generation gene sequencing to: “Take account of human individuality in genes, environment, and lifestyle for early disease diagnosis and individualized therapy.” The 80 subjects were 45 men and 35 women, average age of 54, in “normal health … Continue reading Who’s responsible for your physical and emotional health?

A missed opportunity to study image-evoked emotional memories

This 2015 Ohio human study found that the: “Hippocampus integrates distinct experiences, thereby providing a scaffold for encoding and retrieval of autobiographical memories.” The researchers ignored the hippocampus’ role in emotional memories, although studies such as Emotional memories and out-of-body–induced hippocampal amnesia have shown emotional involvement to be desirable in order to properly study the … Continue reading A missed opportunity to study image-evoked emotional memories

Emotionless brain research that didn’t deal with human reality

Are tasks you do at work and home never influenced by emotional content or contexts? Does your ability to focus on a task always have nothing to do with your emotional state? The researchers who designed this 2015 Boston human study acted as if both of your answers to these questions were “Yes” by stripping … Continue reading Emotionless brain research that didn’t deal with human reality

Do strong emotions cause our brain hemispheres to interact more closely?

This 2015 human/macaque study found: “The functional coordination between the two hemispheres of the brain is maintained by strong and stable interactions. These findings suggest a notable role for the corpus callosum in maintaining stable functional communication between hemispheres.” The human subjects were asked to: “Generate four negative autobiographical memories and create word cues that … Continue reading Do strong emotions cause our brain hemispheres to interact more closely?

Agenda-driven research on emotional memories

I curated this 2013 study because one of the authors has made a career out of denying that people accurately remember and re-experience emotional memories. I’ll show how this viewpoint created problems with the study. For background, one relevant hypothesis of Dr. Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy is that there are differences in the levels of … Continue reading Agenda-driven research on emotional memories

Do you know a stranger’s emotional motivations for smiling?

The premise of this combination of two studies was: “Emotional understanding is the central problem of human interaction.” The researchers reanalyzed a 2008 study’s data, supplemented it with their own 2015 study, and found: “Social-historical factors..explain cross-cultural variation in emotional expression and smile behavior. We also report an original study of the underlying states that … Continue reading Do you know a stranger’s emotional motivations for smiling?