Memory & Emotion
What do they have to do with each other? Two important studies from UMass Amherst bridge gaps in understanding.
In a classic episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Sarek,” Spock’s noble, disciplined father contracts a syndrome in his old age that weakens his emotional control. Moved by the beauty of the music at a concert, Sarek betrays himself by shedding a tear openly, a source of consternation and shame to him given the emotional denial of his Vulcan upbringing.
Sarek’s plight is a dramatic extreme, but the parallels to the fluctuations of emotion that accompany dementia are obvious to anyone who has witnessed a family member experience this aspect of aging.
But why would a change in memory affect our emotions in the first place? Where do emotion and memory collide?