Flexible network community organization during the encoding and retrieval of spatiotemporal episodic memories

Netw Neurosci. 2019 Sep 1;3(4):1070-1093. doi: 10.1162/netn_a_00102. eCollection 2019.


Memory encoding and retrieval involve distinct interactions between multiple brain areas, yet the flexible structure of corresponding large-scale networks during such memory processing remains unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we employed a spatiotemporal encoding and retrieval task, detecting functional community structure across the multiple components of our task. Consistent with past work, we identified a set of stable subnetworks, mostly belonging to primary motor and sensory cortices but also identified a subset of flexible hubs, mostly belonging to higher association areas. These "mover" hubs changed connectivity patterns across spatial and temporal memory encoding and retrieval, engaging in an integrative role within the network. Global encoding network and subnetwork dissimilarity predicted retrieval performance. Together, our findings emphasize the importance of flexible network allegiance among some hubs and the importance of network reconfiguration to human episodic memory.

Keywords: Community detection; Episodic memory; Functional connectivity; Graph theory; Networks.