Common and distinct correlates of construction and elaboration of episodic-autobiographical memory: An ALE meta-analysis

Cortex. 2023 Jun:163:123-138. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2023.03.005. Epub 2023 Mar 31.


The recollection of episodic-autobiographical memories (EAMs) entails a complex temporal dynamic, from initial "construction" to subsequent "elaboration" of memories. While there is consensus that EAM retrieval involves a distributed network of brain regions, it is still largely debated which regions specifically contribute to EAM construction and/or elaboration. To clarify this issue, we conducted an Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE) meta-analysis based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic-Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method. We found common recruitment of the left hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) during both phases. Additionally, EAM construction led to activations in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, left angular gyrus (AG), right hippocampus, and precuneus, while the right inferior frontal gyrus was activated by EAM elaboration. Although most of these regions are distributed over the default mode network, the current findings highlight a differential contribution according to early (midline regions, left/right hippocampus, and left AG) versus later (left hippocampus, and PCC) recollection. Overall, these findings contribute to clarify the neural correlates that support the temporal dynamics of EAM recollection.

Keywords: ALE meta-Analysis; Construction; Default mode network; Elaboration; Episodic-autobiographical memory.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Mental Recall / physiology