A hippocampal marker of recollection memory ability among healthy young adults: contributions of posterior and anterior segments

Neuron. 2011 Dec 22;72(6):931-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.014.


The hippocampus is known to support recollection memory, but the relation between its structure and recollection in healthy adults has not been established. Here we show that the hippocampus (including subiculum, DG, and CA1-CA4), when separated into posterior and anterior segments, can reliably predict recollection in healthy young adults. Better memory was associated with larger posterior and smaller anterior segments, as evaluated relative to the uncal apex. Overall hippocampal volume, however, did not predict memory. This pattern was confirmed in four separate data sets from different studies and laboratories. The relationship between the posterior hippocampus and memory was mediated by the structure's functional connectivity with a neocortical network identified during a postencoding resting-state scan. The relationship was also weakest in an experiment involving no appreciable study-test interval. These findings suggest that enhanced posterior-hippocampal postencoding processes may account for the memory benefit associated with larger posterior hippocampi.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping* / methods
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Young Adult