Dissociable Influence of Reward and Punishment Motivation on Declarative Memory Encoding and its Underlying Neurophysiology
Memories are not veridical representations of the environment. Rather, an individual's goals can influence how the surrounding environment is represented in long-term memory. The present dissertation aims to delineate the influence of reward and punishment motivation on human declarative memory encoding and its underlying neural circuitry. Chapter 1 provides a theoretical framework for investigating motivation's influence on declarative memory. This chapter will review the animal and human literatures on declarative memory encoding, reward and punishment motivation, and motivation's influence on learning and memory. Chapter 2 presents a study examining the behavioral effects of reward and punishment motivation on declarative memory encoding. Chapter 3 presents a study examining the neural circuitry underlying punishment-motivated declarative encoding using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and compares these findings to previous studies of reward-motivated declarative encoding. Chapter 4 presents a study examining the influence of reward and punishment motivation on neural sensitivity to and declarative memory for unexpected events encountered during goal pursuit using fMRI. Finally, Chapter 5 synthesizes these results and proposes a model of how and why motivational valence has distinct influences on declarative memory encoding. Results indicated that behaviorally, reward motivation resulted in more enriched representations of the environment compared to punishment motivation. Neurally, these motivational states engaged distinct neuromodulatory systems and medial temporal lobe (MTL) targets during encoding. Specifically, results indicated that reward motivation supports interactions between the ventral tegmental area and the hippocampus, whereas, punishment motivation supports interactions between the amygdala and parahippocampal cortex. Together, these findings suggest that reward and punishment engage distinct systems of encoding and result in the storage of qualitatively different representations of the environment into long-term memory.
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