Isolating the retrieval of imagined pictures during episodic memory: activation of the left precuneus and left prefrontal cortex

Neuroimage. 2003 Dec;20(4):1934-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.07.017.


The posterior medial parietal cortex and the left prefrontal cortex have both been implicated in the recollection of past episodes. In order to clarify their functional significance, we performed this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, which employed event-related source memory and item recognition retrieval of words paired with corresponding imagined or viewed pictures. Our results suggest that episodic source memory is related to a functional network including the posterior precuneus and the left lateral prefrontal cortex. This network is activated during explicit retrieval of imagined pictures and results from the retrieval of item-context associations. This suggests that previously imagined pictures provide a context with which encoded words can be more strongly associated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology