We review recent work on emotional memory enhancement in older adults and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer dementia (AD) and evaluate the viability of incorporating emotional components into cognitive rehabilitation for these groups. First, we identify converging evidence regarding the effects of emotional valence on working memory in healthy aging. Second, we introduce work that suggests a more complex role for emotional memory enhancement in aging and identify a model capable of unifying disparate research findings. Third, we survey the neuroimaging literature for evidence of a special role for the amygdala in MCI and early AD in emotional memory enhancement. Finally, we assess the theoretical feasibility of incorporating emotional content into cognitive rehabilitation given all available evidence.

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Published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, v. 4, article 2, p. 1-6.

© 2012 Broster, Blonder and Jiang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

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