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New episodic memory traces represent a record of the ongoing neocortical processing engaged during memory formation (encoding). Thus, during encoding, deep (semantic) processing typically establishes more distinctive and retrievable memory traces than does shallow (perceptual) processing, as assessed by later episodic memory tests. By contrast, the(More)
Recent data from animal studies raise the possibility that dopaminergic neuromodulation promotes the encoding of novel stimuli. We investigated a possible role for the dopaminergic midbrain in human episodic memory by measuring how polymorphisms in dopamine clearance pathways affect encoding-related brain activity (functional magnetic resonance imaging) in(More)
The capacity to evaluate causal relations is fundamental to human cognition, and yet little is known of its neurocognitive underpinnings. A functional magnetic resonance imaging study was performed to investigate an hypothesized dissociation between the use of semantic knowledge to evaluate specifically causal relations in contrast to general associative(More)
Exploring a novel environment can facilitate subsequent hippocampal long-term potentiation in animals. We report a related behavioral enhancement in humans. In two separate experiments, recollection and free recall, both measures of hippocampus-dependent memory formation, were enhanced for words studied after a 5-min exposure to unrelated novel as opposed(More)
The amygdala is thought to enhance long-term memory for emotionally arousing events by modulating memory formation and storage in the hippocampus and in neocortical areas. Recent animal studies have raised the possibility that cooperativity between amygdala and hippocampus contributes to the retrieval of fear memories. The functional contributions of the(More)
Most studies investigating semantic memory have focused on taxonomic or associative relations. Little is known about how other relations, such as causal relations, are represented and accessed. In three experiments, we presented participants with pairs of words one after another, describing events that referred to either a cause (e.g., spark) or an effect(More)
Faces expressing fear may attract attention in an automatic bottom-up fashion. Here we address this issue with magneto-encephalographic (MEG) recordings in subjects performing a demanding visual search combined with the presentation of irrelevant neutral or fearful faces. The impact of the faces' emotional expression on attentional selection was assessed by(More)
Knowledge about cause and effect relationships (e.g., virus-epidemic) is essential for predicting changes in the environment and for anticipating the consequences of events and one's own actions. Although there is evidence that predictions and learning from prediction errors are instrumental in acquiring causal knowledge, it is unclear whether prediction(More)
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