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© Tobias Kraus

Neural processes of adaptive and maladap­tive memory consolidation

Tobias Kraus – Hector RCD Awardee Monika Schönauer

Highly emotional memories are processed differ­ently from neutral ones. For negative experi­ences, this can result in maladap­tive memory forma­tion which may foster emotional psycho­log­i­cal disor­ders. This project aims to improve our under­stand­ing of adaptive and maladap­tive memory process­ing. We will analyze brain activ­ity in tasks that model maladap­tive memory symptoms. By this, we hope to identify entry points for treat­ments that counter­act maladap­tive memory formation.

To appro­pri­ately react to new situa­tions or to adapt to new circum­stances, our brain relies on both memories of unique past experi­ences, as well as on rules and gener­al­ized knowl­edge derived there­from. The process by which newly formed memories are trans­formed from short-term to long-term memory and integrated into gener­al­ized inter­nal models of our environ­ment is called systems memory consol­i­da­tion. In cases of strongly negative experi­ences, this memory process­ing can become maladap­tive. The memory can later resur­face invol­un­tar­ily (e.g., in post-traumatic stress disor­der), or lead to negative cogni­tive biases (e.g., in depres­sion). However, little is known about differ­ences in the forma­tion of adaptive and maladap­tive memories. To under­stand maladap­tive memory process­ing in psycho­log­i­cal disor­ders, we suggest to inter­pret them as alter­ations in systems consolidation.

This project seeks to deter­mine under which condi­tions the neural and behav­ioral markers of consol­i­da­tion become maladap­tive and to identify poten­tial entry points for inter­ven­tions. Using neuroimag­ing techniques, we will compare adaptive and maladap­tive memory consol­i­da­tion in paradigms that model intru­sive memories and negative cogni­tive bias. We will study adaptive and maladap­tive memory process­ing during two states central to build­ing stable memories: active rehearsal and sleep. We will then test whether behav­ioral inter­ven­tions can counter­act maladap­tive memory formation.

Neuronale Prozesse von adaptiver und maladaptiver Gedächtniskonsolidierung

Standard Model SMC

Tobias Kraus

Univer­sity of Freiburg

Super­vised by

Jun.-Prof. Dr.

Monika Schönauer

Psychol­ogy, Medicine & Informatics