The importance of the medial temporal lobe to episodic memory has been recognized for decades. Recent human fMRI findings have begun to delineate the functional roles of different MTL regions, most notably the hippocampus, for the retrieval of episodic memories. Importantly, these studies have also identified a network of cortical regions--each interconnected with the MTL--that are also consistently engaged during successful episodic retrieval. Along with the MTL these regions appear to constitute a content-independent network that acts in concert with cortical regions representing the contents of retrieval to support consciously accessible representations of prior experiences.
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