Functional-anatomic correlates of remembering and knowing

Neuroimage. 2004 Apr;21(4):1337-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.11.001.


Neural correlates of remembering were examined using event-related functional MRI (fMRI) in 20 young adults. A recognition paradigm based on the remember/know (RK) procedure was used to separately classify studied items that were correctly identified and accompanied by a conscious recollection of details about the study episode from studied items that were correctly identified in the absence of conscious recollection. To facilitate exploration of the basis of remember decisions, studied items were paired with pictures and sounds to encourage retrieval of specific content during scanned testing. Analyses using a priori regions of interest indicated that remembering recruited both regions that associate with the perception and/or decision that information is old and regions that associate preferentially with visual content, while knowing recruited regions associated with oldness, but did not recruit visual content regions. Exploratory analyses further indicated a functional dissociation across regions of parietal cortex that may aid to reconcile several divergent results in the literature. Lateral parietal regions responded preferentially to remember decisions, while a slightly medial region responded robustly to both remember and know decisions. Taken collectively, these results suggest that remembering and knowing associate with common processes supporting a perception and/or the decision that information is old. Remembering additionally recruits regions specific to retrieved content, which may participate to convey the vividness typical of recollective experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Association Learning / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology


  • Oxygen