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C. New Insight into Emotion and Memory in Brain Research

Narrator: This is Science Today. There's been a lot of research over the last four decades on how the brain stores memories of emotional events better than memories of non-emotional events. Dr. Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Irvine, says much of the research points to a small, almond-shaped brain structure called the amygdala, which is located on both sides of the brain, a couple inches in from the ear.

Cahill: Something about the amygdala kicking into gear during and after an emotional event helps you remember it better - that's the theory. And we have evidence for that not only from animal studies, but from human studies as well.

Narrator: Cahill and his colleagues recently found that men and women seem to use different sides of the amygdala to store emotional memories.

Cahill: If in fact the men's brains on average are processing this information differently from the women's brains - say right amygdala, left amygdala - just that. Well, somehow that's got to be reflected in what they remember. It's got to be. So now we're going back and we're looking more carefully for what was missed before, not just by us but I think by the whole field.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.