Navigating emotional and social memory space


March 20, 2018 - 12:00pm
Northwest Building, Room B103
About the Speaker
Daniela Schiller
Speaker Title: 
Associate Professor
Speaker Affiliation: 
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Memory reminders can return a memory into an unstable state such that it will decay unless actively restabilized into long-term memory through reconsolidation. Exposure to memory reminders, however, does not always lead to destabilization. The 'trace dominance' principle posits that the extent of exposure to memory cues governs memory susceptibility to disruption. Here, I will describe a systematic investigation of reminder duration in threat memory modification in humans. Associative learning of stimulus-outcome, however, is only one form of memory organization. A more comprehensive and efficient organizational principal is the cognitive map. In the second part of the talk I will examine this concept in the case of social space. Social encounters provide opportunities to become intimate or estranged from others and to gain or lose power over them. The locations of others on the axes of power and affiliation can serve as reference points for our own position in the social space. The goal of our research is to uncover the neural representation of these social coordinates. The talk will describe recent experiments tracking the online neural encoding of the perceived location of others relative to us, beginning with the first impression and proceeding through dynamic interactions with multiple peers.