The experience of vivid autobiographical reminiscence is supported by subjective content representations in the precuneus

Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 8;8(1):14899. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32879-0.


The human posteromedial cortex, which includes core regions of the default mode network (DMN), is thought to play an important role in episodic memory. However, the nature and functional role of representations in these brain regions remain unspecified. Nine participants (all female) wore smartphone devices to record episodes from their daily lives for multiple weeks, each night indicating the personally-salient attributes of each episode. Participants then relived their experiences in an fMRI scanner cued by images from their own lives. Representational Similarity Analysis revealed a broad network, including parts of the DMN, that represented personal semantics during autobiographical reminiscence. Within this network, activity in the right precuneus reflected more detailed representations of subjective contents during vivid relative to non-vivid, recollection. Our results suggest a more specific mechanism underlying the phenomenology of vivid autobiographical reminiscence, supported by rich subjective content representations in the precuneus, a hub of the DMN previously implicated in metacognitive evaluations during memory retrieval.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Mental Recall
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Semantics
  • Young Adult