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Medical Why does thinking about old memories feels good?

  1. Jun 7, 2007 #1
    My bro. told me that it feels good b/c it gives us a sense of accomplishment; legacy. But I saw an old video I havn't seen in a long time and it made my brain access a part of its mind which I don't experience very often.

    Thanks for the replies!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2007 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    By old memories, I assume one refers to 'good' or 'pleasant' memories of happy moments, as opposed to reliving or remembering a traumatic event. Ostensibly, the brain recreates the neural pattern and neurochemical response we associate with happiness.
  4. Jun 7, 2007 #3
    Check out some Freud.. I know of places where you can find some of his work.. Hit me up in pm if you are interested.
  5. Jun 12, 2007 #4

    When we think about memories, our brain will emulate different aspects of how it was when the event in the memory took place. An example: if you think about an unhappy experience, you will perhaps feel a little bit depressed, or wince and turn your mind to something else; if you think of a scary experience you will feel scared. This is because your brain is having similar neural patterns as the ones it had when the event took place. So, when you think of a happy memory, your brain will produce similar neural patterns to the ones it produced when the event in the memory took place, which we will interpret as happiness.
  6. Jun 13, 2007 #5
    Let me narrow this question down a little, if I may: How are specific memories tagged with emotion? Let's take fear, because that's what I've been looking at recently (and broadly) : The lateral nucleus of the amygdala supposedly pairs stimuli (using run of the mill hebbian interaction) in order to stimulate the central nucleus of the amygala, which in turn activates both the hippocampus and the VTA, among other areas. It seems fairly well understood that the amygdala learns implicitly, so that the conditioned stimulus will elicit the same type of "fearful" later on.

    But seeing as how we're talking about the explicit memory system, I think exploring the interactions of the hippocampus post central nucleus will point us in the right direction. Does anyone know if input from the VTA is needed to tag the memory as a fearful one, or is the output from the amygdala sufficient?

    If the VTA is in fact a crucial part of fear conditioning, then the memory recalled would serve to activate the tegmental cells. Does anyone know if this is the case? Does suppression of the VTA inhibit the emotional response that comes from the reactivation of the original memory set? Or does anyone know of any research/papers on this subject?
  7. Jun 14, 2007 #6
    feelings seem to revolve around expectational boundries. when something exceeds or did exceed an expectation it triggers a good feeling, when the expectation was or is violated we experience a form of pain. there are three major boundries: body, self-image, and ideals or goals. fear is ancipation of a boundry violation.
  8. Jun 14, 2007 #7
    Most of us are pretty certain why we feel good or bad - the question was why the memory of a feeling elicits that same feeling. Even within the confines of your conveniently vague response, jiohdi, I must point out that no expectations or boundaries are exceeded or violated by the act of remembering.

    Does anyone know anything about memory retrieval in general? Is the hippocampus the culprit, or do we activate the circuits directly form the cortex?
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