Positive and Neutral Updating Reconsolidate Aversive Episodic Memories via Different Routes
WANG J; CHEN B; SHA M; GU Y; WU H; FORCATO C; QIN S
Aversive memories are long-lasting and prone to have adverse effects on our emotional wellbeingand mental health. Yet, how to remedy the maladaptive effects of aversive memories remainselusive. Using memory reactivation and emotional updating manipulations, we investigated howpositive and neutral emotion updates aversive memories for reconsolidation in humans. We foundthat positive updating after reactivation was equivalent to neutral updating in altering truememories of the aversive story, but introduced more false memory. Moreover, an additional 12hours of sleep reconsolidation did not further enlarge true memory differences, but attenuated theeffect of reactivation and updating on false memory. Interestingly, the neutral rather than thepositive updating reduced the emotional arousal of the aversive memory 24 hours later. Ourfindings provide novel insights into real-world therapeutic applications regarding how updatingwith positive and neutral emotion may reshape aversive memories, especially when taking wakeand sleep-filled reconsolidation into account.