Activity in motor areas while remembering action events

Neuroreport. 2000 Jul 14;11(10):2199-201. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200007140-00027.


Episodic memory for simple commands is better following enacted than verbal encoding. This has been proposed to be due to the possibility to base retrieval on motor information. Here we used PET to test the hypothesis that motor brain areas show increased retrieval-related activity following enacted compared to verbal encoding. Brain activity was also monitored during retrieval after imaginary enactment during encoding. It was found that activity in the right motor cortex was maximal following encoding enactment, intermediate following imaginary encoding enactment, and lowest following verbal encoding. These findings provide support that one basis for the facilitating effect on memory performance of overt, and to a lesser degree covert, encoding enactment is the possibility to base retrieval on motor information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cues
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Speech
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed