Destination memory is the process of remembering to whom we tell particular things. Although recent behavioral studies have clarified the cognitive nature of destination memory, the neural mechanisms underlying destination memory retrieval remain unclear. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine whether the medial temporal lobe (MTL), a structure that has been implicated in recollection-based memory, is activated during the successful retrieval of destination information. During a study phase before fMRI scanning, the subjects told a series of facts to either a woman or a man. During fMRI scanning, the subjects were asked to judge whether each fact presented was old or new, and if they judged it as old, to indicate, including a confidence rating (high or low), whether the subjects had told that fact to either a man or a woman. We found that successful destination retrieval, when compared to failed destination retrieval, was associated with increased activity in the parahippocampal gyrus. We also found that the confidence level (high vs. low) for destination memory retrieval was associated with increased activity in another (posterior) region of the parahippocampal gyrus. The present study suggests that the successful retrieval of destination information depends highly on MTL-mediated recollection processes.
Keywords: Episodic memory; Parahippocampal gyrus; Recognition; Recollection; fMRI.