Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2004 May 27;42(4):687-95.
doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(04)00270-3.

Remembrance of Odors Past: Human Olfactory Cortex in Cross-Modal Recognition Memory


Remembrance of Odors Past: Human Olfactory Cortex in Cross-Modal Recognition Memory

Jay A Gottfried et al. Neuron. .


Episodic memory is often imbued with multisensory richness, such that the recall of an event can be endowed with the sights, sounds, and smells of its prior occurrence. While hippocampus and related medial temporal structures are implicated in episodic memory retrieval, the participation of sensory-specific cortex in representing the qualities of an episode is less well established. We combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a cross-modal paradigm, where objects were presented with odors during memory encoding. We then examined the effect of odor context on neural responses at retrieval when these same objects were presented alone. Primary olfactory (piriform) cortex, as well as anterior hippocampus, was activated during the successful retrieval of old (compared to new) objects. Our findings indicate that sensory features of the original engram are preserved in unimodal olfactory cortex. We suggest that reactivation of memory traces distributed across modality-specific brain areas underpins the sensory qualities of episodic memories.

Comment in

  • The potion's magic.
    Buckner RL. Buckner RL. Neuron. 2004 May 27;42(4):526-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.05.007. Neuron. 2004. PMID: 15157415 Review.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 53 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources