Chapter 16. Sensation, movement, and emotion

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Though cognitive neuroscience locates all memory systems in the brain and has gone to great lengths to understand the issues involved in the various forms that memory takes, where these forms are stored, and how they interact, it may be ‘neurocentric’ to think of memory as only occurring in and mediated by the brain. Undoubtedly, neural networks for memory abound in many different areas of the brain, and are absolutely essential hubs for the encoding, storage, and retrieval of human experience. Yet emerging work in neuroscience also confirms the crucial role of sensorimotor and affective processing in the shaping and reshaping of human memory. A case for ‘body memory’ can be made, and the role of the moving, sensing, feeling, and emoting body can now be seen as fundamental to the developmental structuring of and subsequent neurogenetic changing of memory, particularly implicit memory. This understanding of the phenomenological body’s centrality in the navigation of non-verbal and affect-laden learning and remembering has profound impacts for our understanding of attachment, enactment, the therapeutic relationship, and psychotherapeutic procedures.


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