The Amygdala, “Emotional Tagging” and emotional modulation of memory formation:

At any given moment our brain is bombarded with stimuli from our external and  internal environment. Within this flood of information, effective memory systems, such as the hippocampus, are required to be able to identify the more relevant aspects, in order to transfer only those to longer-term memory. The emotional implication of stimuli was suggested as important cues for their significance, which should promote their consolidation. We termed this concept – “Emotional Tagging”.  We hypothesized that emotional and stressful activation of the amygdala enables emotional modulation of memory formation in other brain areas, such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. We were indeed able to demonstrate that amygdala priming affected plasticity induction in these areas, serving as a kind of an emotional tag to enhance emotional memory consolidation.

We continue to explore these mechanisms of “Emotional Tagging”. In particular, we are interested to understand how significant experiences, which induce plasticity within the amygdala, modify the functioning of the ‘Emotional Tag’, in the context of understanding the formation of stress vulnerability and stress resilience.