The main topic of my lab is to investigate neural mechanisms underlying the human long-term memory. As research techniques, we are employing 1) functional neuroimaging (fMRI) technique, 2) neuropsychological approach for brain-damaged patients, and 3) experimental psychological approach. Our recent interests in research are listed below.
1. Basic processes in episodic memories
The medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures are important in the encoding and retrieval processes in human episodic memories. Recent findings have reported that several parts within the MTL regions could be dissociable between different processes in episodic memory. In our laboratory, we are investigating neural mechanisms involved in the “association” or “context” process in episodic memory.
2. Effects of affective and motivational processes on episodic memories
Emotionally positive or negative events are better remembered than emotionally neutral events. The motivation for getting rewards or avoiding punishments also enhances human memory processes. Now we are interested in neural mechanisms underlying the affective- or motivational- cognitive interactions in human memory processes. In addition, our research is shedding a light on the effect of social interaction on human memory processes.
3. Age-related changes in episodic memories
Episodic memory processes is often declined by an aging effect. However, evidence of the age-related differences in brain activity during memory processes is still largely unavailable. Our laboratory is examining the effect of healthy aging on neural mechanisms during the processing of human episodic memories.
4. Effects of life styles on episodic memory functions in elderly people
Recent findings suggest that life styles such as exercises or diets in daily life could affect human cognitive and memory functions. In our laboratory, we are trying to find positive factors in life styles on memory functions in elderly persons, by the cohort research.