Enhanced memory for emotional events is a well-recognized phenomenon, which has obvious adaptive value in evolutionary terms, as it is vital to remember both dangerous and favorable situations. However, in case of extremely aversive experiences, increased memory of such experiences can contribute to the development and symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as PTSD or phobias. I will present human studies on the neural basis of emotional memory and will discuss how stress hormones and genetic- and epigenetic variations can affect emotional memory and the risk for anxiety disorders.
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