Episodic memory retrieval involves multiple component processes, including those that occur when information is correctly remembered (retrieval success). The present study employed rapid-presentation event-related functional MRI that allowed different trial types with short intertrial intervals to be sorted such that the hemodynamic response associated with retrieval success could be extracted. Specifically, in an old/new episodic recognition task, hit trials (correctly recognized old items) and correct rejection trials (correctly rejected new items) were directly compared. The comparison revealed a mostly left-lateralized set of brain regions. Differential activation was most robust in left lateral parietal cortex and medial parietal cortex. Additional regions of differential activation included left anterior prefrontal cortex at or near Brodmann area 10, anterior insula, thalamus, anterior cingulate cortex, frontal cortex along inferior frontal gyrus, premotor cortex, and presupplementary motor area. These results suggest that left frontal and parietal regions modulate activity based on the successful retrieval of information from episodic memory. We discuss these findings in the context of several recent investigations that provide converging results as well as prior studies that have failed to detect these changes.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.