Undergraduate Research Showcase Summer 2022 (SROP)
Autobiographical memory is central to one's sense of self and continuity from past to present. Despite this, there is little research on the neural correlates underlying individual subjective experience of autobiographical memory and how that is related to brain phenomena (i.e., activity, communication). The purpose of this study was to help minimize this gap. We recruited twenty healthy adult participants, who were asked to generate memory cues (1-3 word descriptions) for locations and objects from their early and recent life. After 24 hours, participants were shown these cues then asked to recall the appropriate memory while in an fMRI scanner. Subsequently, participants were then asked to rate the memories on various subjective categories (i.e. arousal, frequency, importance, vividness). We hypothesized that there would be greater overall activation with earlier memories, compared to recent memories in brain regions responsible for memory reinstatement (e.g., the hippocampus, amygdala, and ventrolateral/medial prefrontal cortices), as earlier memories tend to be encoded and consolidated for longer. Results from behavioral ratings indicated that recent memories were rated higher than early memories in most subjective categories. In terms of fMRI data, we found there was greater overall activation for recent memories as compared to earlier memories. We also found greater overall activation for location memory compared to object memory. When using the subjective ratings to probe neural activity and communication, we found significant correlations between arousal in certain brain regions (e.g., medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus) for different categories of memory. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found greater overall activation for recent memories, as opposed to early memories; our findings suggest that arousal may play a part in this increased activation for recent memories.
Peruski, Ava G.; Singh, Nim; and Depue, Brendan E.
"The Neural Sequalae of Subjectively Experiencing Autobiographical Memories from the Remote Past and Recent Present using fMRI,"
The Cardinal Edge: Vol. 1:
4, Article 20.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/tce/vol1/iss4/20