New neurons help us to remember fear

June 17, 2011

Scientists have long known that fear and other highly emotional experiences lead to incredibly strong memories. […] Daniela Kaufer and colleagues report a new way for emotions to affect memory: The brain's emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons.

In a fearful situation, these newborn neurons get activated by the amygdala and may provide a "blank slate" on which the new fearful memory can be strongly imprinted, she said. In evolutionary terms, it means new neurons are likely helping you to remember the lion that nearly killed you.

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