A role for right medial prefontal cortex in accurate feeling-of-knowing judgements: evidence from patients with lesions to frontal cortex

Neuropsychologia. 2004;42(7):957-66. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.11.020.


The hypothesis that prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in accurate predictions of episodic memory performance was tested using the feeling-of-knowing (FOK) paradigm. Fourteen patients with a broad spectrum of damage to the frontal cortex and matched controls read sentences and later were tested for recall memory, confidence judgments, and FOK accuracy using as cues the sentences with the final word missing. While frontal patients were impaired at recall and recognition memory, they were able to make accurate confidence judgments about their recall attempts. By contrast, as a group, the patients were markedly impaired in the accuracy of their prospective FOK judgments. Lesion analysis of frontal patients with clear FOK impairment revealed an overlapping region of damage in right medial prefrontal cortex. These findings provide functional and anatomical evidence for a dissociation between recall confidence and prospective memory monitoring and are discussed in terms of familiarity and access theories of FOK predictions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Deja Vu / psychology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / injuries
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods