Emotional Hangovers Are Real, And They’re Not What You Think | @curiositydotcom
In the study from New York University, researchers had one group of volunteers look at a series of emotional images and a second group look at non-emotional, neutral images while their brains were scanned via fMRI and their skin conductance was measured. Around 10 to 30 minutes after the first viewing, the groups were switched: participants in the first group viewed non-emotional images and those from the second group looked at the emotional ones. Six hours later, both groups took a memory test to how well they could recall the images.
Results showed that the group who viewed the emotional images first could better remember the images they saw second (the neutral ones), compared to the people who saw the non-emotional images first. This suggested that strong emotions may have affected the way participants remembered later events. The fMRI scans seemed to support this: the regions of the brain that were active in response to the emotional images were still active up to 30 minutes later when the second set of neutral images were shown.
Essentially, the brain seems to be “charged” by emotional experiences, setting the stage for future memories to form more vividly afterwards.