The eye of the self: precuneus volume and visual perspective during autobiographical memory retrieval

Brain Struct Funct. 2014 May;219(3):959-68. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0546-2. Epub 2013 Apr 4.


Visual perspective (i.e. first-person versus third-person perspective) during autobiographical memory (AM) retrieval plays a role in both emotional regulation and self-related processes. However, its neural underpinnings remain mostly unexplored. Visual perspective during AM retrieval was assessed in two independent datasets of 45 and 20 healthy young adults with two different AM retrieval tasks. Diffeomorphic anatomical registration using exponentiated lie algebra and voxel-based morphometry were used to assess individual differences in the precuneus grey matter volume. The spontaneous tendency to recall memories from a first-person perspective was positively correlated with the right precuneus volume among the two independent datasets. Whole-brain analyses revealed that these results were relatively specific to the anterior part of the right precuneus. Our results provide first evidence for the role of the precuneus in egocentric spatial processing in the context of AM retrieval among healthy subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult