Memory, Emotion, Social Cognition

Memory, Emotion, Social Cognition

General presentation


This was considered as a unifying theme 5 years ago for the CRNL and we conducted a follow-up to determine how this theme developed over the current period. The first fact is that the number of teams for which this theme is essential has increased (12 teams for the period 2021-25, compared to 9 in 2016). This is the result of the very numerous collaborations between teams on the theme of memory, often with several articles and co-supervision of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Several fruitful collaborations have been established on the theme of memory by associating teams specialized in the different sensory modalities (i.e., hearing, olfaction and pain) by the CMO, NEUROPOP, CAP, PAM and NEUROPAIN teams. We also observe the development of collaborations between teams that fall under 2 different axes such as the study of the role of meditation, unconscious sensory processes, sleep and dream, not only in memory but also in emotion regulation and social cognition (SLEEP, TRAJECTOIRES, IMPACT, EDUWELL, PAM, FORGETTING, NEUROPOP).


Major contributions


A significant progress in the study of short-term and long-term memory in humans and rodents has been made by the CRNL teams. fMRI, PET, intracranial EEG in humans, cellular imaging, optogenetics, chronic multisite electrophysiology and μPET in rodents have been performed to better understand the sensory specific forms of learning and memory at multiple scales (NEUROPOP, CMO, BIORAN, FORGETTING), episodic memory (CMO) and interactions between working memory and longterm memory and the possible importance of forgetting in this process (NEUROPAIN, FORGETTING). Thus, combination of multi-level approaches from synaptic to brain network scales helped to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of these forms of memory (NEUROPOP, CMO, NEUROPAIN). Several studies have been devoted to characterizing the role of paradoxical (REM) sleep and dream in the consolidation of memory, especially emotional and implicit memory (SLEEP, PAM, WAKING, NEUROPAIN, FORGETTING, MEMO). Teams are also investigating the possibility of increasing short-term memory using music, in particular temporal regularities, or adaptive forgetting (CAP, NEUROPAIN, FORGETTING).

Studies on emotion in humans and rodents have also revealed several important results. A study disclosed a cortical signature of the hedonic olfactory stimuli (NEUROPOP) while others, in olfactory emotional memory, have revealed an encoding of time (CMO). Emotion carried by odors also promotes accurate episodic retrieval in humans (CMO). Current work also examines the emotional effect of hearing a baby's cry (NEUROPAIN, ENES). Teams also showed the role of sleep, in particular REM sleep, and dreaming, in reducing emotional tone (PAM, FORGETTING).

Several teams studied social cognition in monkeys and humans in a renewed way. These teams used several strategies to characterize the influence of peers on school acquisition, learning and cognitive performance and on the perception of pain and emotions (IMPACT, NEUROPAIN, TRAJECTOIRES, EDUWELL). Related to this theme, it has been shown that human biological odors also influence the perception of social stimuli such as perceived attractiveness of faces and voices (NEUROPOP).




Anne-Marie Mouly (CMO CRNL),
Jane Plailly (CMO CRNL),
Nicola Kuczewski (NEUROPOP CRNL),