We investigated the neural correlates supporting three kinds of memory judgments after very short delays using naturalistic material. In two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments, subjects watched short movie clips, and after a short retention (1.5-2.5 s), made mnemonic judgments about specific aspects of the clips. In Experiment 1, subjects were presented with two scenes and required to either choose the scene that happened earlier in the clip ("scene-chronology"), or with a correct spatial arrangement ("scene-layout"), or that had been shown ("scene-recognition"). To segregate activity specific to seen versus unseen stimuli, in Experiment 2 only one probe image was presented (either target or foil). Across the two experiments, we replicated three patterns underlying the three specific forms of memory judgment. The precuneus was activated during temporal-order retrieval, the superior parietal cortex was activated bilaterally for spatial-related configuration judgments, whereas the medial frontal cortex during scene recognition. Conjunction analyses with a previous study that used analogous retrieval tasks, but a much longer delay (>1 day), demonstrated that this dissociation pattern is independent of retention delay. We conclude that analogous brain regions mediate task-specific retrieval across vastly different delays, consistent with the proposal of scale-invariance in episodic memory retrieval.
Keywords: cinematic material; scale-invariance; short-/long-delays; “what-where-when” tripartite pattern.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.