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, 310 (5756), 1963-6

Category-specific Cortical Activity Precedes Retrieval During Memory Search

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Category-specific Cortical Activity Precedes Retrieval During Memory Search

Sean M Polyn et al. Science.

Abstract

Here we describe a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of humans engaged in memory search during a free recall task. Patterns of cortical activity associated with the study of three categories of pictures (faces, locations, and objects) were identified by a pattern-classification algorithm. The algorithm was used to track the reappearance of these activity patterns during the recall period. The reappearance of a given category's activity pattern correlates with verbal recalls made from that category and precedes the recall event by several seconds. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that category-specific activity is cueing the memory system to retrieve studied items.

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