Memory processes such as encoding, storage, and retrieval of information are influenced by emotional content. Because patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are particularly susceptible to emotional information, it is relevant to understand whether such memory processes are altered in this patient group. This systematic literature review collects current evidence on this issue. Research suggests that emotional information interferes more strongly with information processing and learning in BPD patients than in healthy controls. In general, BPD patients do not seem to differ from healthy control subjects in their ability to memorize emotional information, but they tend to have specific difficulties forgetting negative information. Also, BPD patients seem to recall autobiographical, particularly negative events with stronger arousal than healthy controls, while BPD patients also show specific temporo-prefrontal alterations in neural correlates. No substantial evidence was found that the current affective state influences learning and memory in BPD patients any differently than in healthy control subjects. In general, a depressive mood seems to both deteriorate and negatively bias information processing and memories, while there is evidence that dissociative symptoms impair learning and memory independently of stimulus valence. This review discusses methodological challenges of studies on memory and emotions in BPD and makes suggestions for future research and clinical implications.

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