Cortical reinstatement and the confidence and accuracy of source memory

Neuroimage. 2015 Apr 1;109:118-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Jan 9.


Cortical reinstatement refers to the overlap between neural activity elicited during the encoding and the subsequent retrieval of an episode, and is held to reflect retrieved mnemonic content. Previous findings have demonstrated that reinstatement effects reflect the quality of retrieved episodic information as this is operationalized by the accuracy of source memory judgments. The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated whether reinstatement-related activity also co-varies with the confidence of accurate source judgments. Participants studied pictures of objects along with their visual or spoken names. At test, they first discriminated between studied and unstudied pictures and then, for each picture judged as studied, they also judged whether it had been paired with a visual or auditory name, using a three-point confidence scale. Accuracy of source memory judgments- and hence the quality of the source-specifying information--was greater for high than for low confidence judgments. Modality-selective retrieval-related activity (reinstatement effects) also co-varied with the confidence of the corresponding source memory judgment. The findings indicate that the quality of the information supporting accurate judgments of source memory is indexed by the relative magnitude of content-selective, retrieval-related neural activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Young Adult