Are There Multiple Kinds of Episodic Memory? An fMRI Investigation Comparing Autobiographical and Recognition Memory Tasks




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Society for Neuroscience


What brain regions underlie retrieval from episodic memory? The bulk of research addressing this question with fMRI has relied upon recognition memory for materials encoded within the laboratory. Another, less dominant tradition has used autobiographical methods, whereby people recall events from their lifetime, often after being cued with words or pictures. The current study addresses how the neural substrates of successful memory retrieval differed as a function of the targeted memory when the experimental parameters were held constant in the two conditions (except for instructions). Human participants studied a set of scenes and then took two types of memory test while undergoing fMRI scanning. In one condition (the picture memory test), participants reported for each scene (32 studied, 64 nonstudied) whether it was recollected from the prior study episode. In a second condition (the life memory test), participants reported for each scene (32 studied, 64 nonstudied) whether it reminded them of a specific event from their preexperimental lifetime. An examination of successful retrieval (yes responses) for recently studied scenes for the two test types revealed pronounced differences; that is, autobiographical retrieval instantiated with the life memory test preferentially activated the default mode network, whereas hits in the picture memory test preferentially engaged the parietal memory network as well as portions of the frontoparietal control network. When experimental cueing parameters are held constant, the neural underpinnings of successful memory retrieval differ when remembering life events and recently learned events.



Autobiographical memory, Episodic memory, Magnetic resonance imaging, Parietal Lobe, Recognition, Adult, Behavior, Gyrus Cinguli, Female, Frontal Lobe, Humans, Human experimentation in medicine, Human information processing, Information retrieval, Male, Memory--Testing, Neuroimaging, Parahippocampal Gyrus, Reaction time, Young adults, Teenagers, Brain mapping, Physiology, Recollection (Psychology), Cerebral cortex, Optical pattern recognition

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (DGE-1143954)


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