Neuroscience: How Does Neurotensin Determine Memory | Emotional Valence?

Neuroscience: How Does Neurotensin Determine Memory | Emotional Valence?

Neuroscience: How Does Neurotensin Determine Memory | Emotional Valence?

There was a recent paper in Nature, Neurotensin orchestrates valence assignment in the amygdala, submitting that a neuropeptide, neurotensin determines what becomes of a memory — good or bad.

This means that in experiences, neurotensin also decides if it would be a happy memory, or a sad one.

The study showed that “neurotensin (NT)-expressing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) projecting to the BLA (PVT-BLA:NT) mediate valence assignment by exerting NT concentration-dependent modulation in BLA during associative learning.”

Though a previous study in Nature, A circuit mechanism for differentiating positive and negative associations expressed that, “Synaptic plasticity in the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) mediates the acquisition of associative memories, both positive and negative”

The question is: what is the overall construct of all the molecules responsible for memory?

This means, for what they all construct for memory, what is the overall experiential architecture?

Whatever becomes a good or bad emotion is often something known.

There are cultures where something could be a bad emotion, but be neutral or good for others. So, it is hypothesized that neurotensin constructs subjective feelings.

But how?

The thalamus is where all senses, except smell, arrive for processing or integration, before relay across the corticolimbic system for interpretation.

It can be theorized that sensory processing or integration in the thalamus is to construct a uniform identity, which is thought or a form of thought. This means that whatever is experienced from the external world becomes a new identity [or thought version] in the thalamus, prioritized or pre-prioritized before relay for interpretation.

Interpretation in other areas of the cortex is propounded to be knowing, feeling and reaction. Knowing is memory. Memory stores thought or its form. Memory has micro and macro stores as representation for everything the brain controls. It is the sequences of relay of micro stores to macro that determine what feelings would follow.

Every experience is a macro store: pain, sadness, delight, fatigue, energy, and so on. There are also stores for the feel-like. This is different from actual feelings of things at the moment. The feel-like is stored after getting previously picked up when it was felt.

There are resident and freelance micro stores. Resident micro stores the smallest possible unique information on anything. Freelance micro stores go directly, sometimes connecting with resident micros. 

Macro stores commonness—or similarities—between two or more micros. This means that cloth is a macro store, but unique properties of known clothes exist as micro stores.

Whenever thought [as the new identity or rep of senses] emerges from the thalamus, conceptually — it goes into memory location and binds to a freelance micro store to head to respective macro stores fast. It does so through established sequential lines.

Sometimes, the freelance micro store connects with the resident micro store, which goes-before to macro stores in similar sequence as before, to expect or know what is to come, from previous experiences, then the incoming freelance micro store follows.

This is what is often termed predictions [as in predictive coding and predictive processing]. It is the rules of memory not predictions.

There is a principal spot for macro stores, where just one goes in the moment to have the most dominant impact. Stores action and transport follows a sequence for the same experience, going across macro stores.

Macro stores are constructs of different locations, which in part is what this study in Nature, Brain-wide mapping reveals that engrams for a single memory are distributed across multiple brain regions, reported that, “a partial map of the engram complex for contextual fear conditioning memory by characterizing encoding activated neuronal ensembles in 247 regions using tissue phenotyping in mice. The mapping was aided by an engram index, which identified 117 cFos+ brain regions holding engrams with high probability, and brain-wide reactivation of these neuronal ensembles by recall.”


To decide, a micro store has to go to macro stores, including those of the store of happy or sad following an established sequence.

It could involve the go-before by the resident micro store for that decision, or to expect to be happy or sad, then confirmed, by the freelance micro store. It may also go through another sequence changing what was expected.

When getting feedback and the freelance store goes to different macro stores for what it means, the conclusion may determine where it returns to, revealing happy or sad.

This is similar also to the symptomatic determinations, where a study in AJNR, Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations found that scans showed certain physical and mechanical changes in their back of some people who did not have chronic pain, so they concluded that, “Imaging findings of spine degeneration are present in high proportions of asymptomatic individuals, increasing with age. Many imaging-based degenerative features are likely part of normal aging and unassociated with pain. These imaging findings must be interpreted in the context of the patient's clinical condition.”

Another study in SAGE Journal, The Emotional Brain as a Predictor and Amplifier of Chronic Pain discussed how “the emotional brain is responsible for modulation of acute pain and in the prediction and amplification of chronic pain.”

Pain is a store in the memory, if the incoming store does not go there, then no pain, or there is less. This is obvious with phantom pain, where an individual feels what is like pain in an already lost limb.

It means the store of the limb is still in the brain, and when its micro store becomes prioritized, and goes to its macro store of pain, it bears the experience.

It is also similar to trauma or anxiety about some situations, where sometimes, it is possible to think about it, but not feel that way because the micro store went through sequences but didn’t visit the trauma macro store, or the trauma macro store was removed from the principal spot.

It is what they become [prioritized or pre-prioritized] then where and how micro stores go to macro stores that determines what it is experienced at any moment.

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Stephen David

Research in Theoretical Neuroscience
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