Functional neuroimaging and episodic memory: a perspective

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2001 Feb;23(1):32-48. doi: 10.1076/jcen.


One area of research that has significantly benefited from the recent development of functional neuroimaging techniques is the study of memory. In this review we explore what has been learned about the neural basis of normal memory function using these techniques. We focus on episodic memory, which is characterized by the ability to consciously recollect memories for facts or events. We highlight three neuroanatomical regions that have been linked to episodic memory: The hippocampal complex, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. For each of these regions, we discuss the behavioral methods of assessment and specific episodic memory processes, particularly encoding and retrieval. Finally, we briefly comment on the potential clinical applications for this research and other memory systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*