Which brain regions are critically involved in the retrieval of old episodic memory?

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1995 Sep;21(2):117-27. doi: 10.1016/0165-0173(95)00007-0.


Memory is two-sided like the head of Janus: it looks into the past (retrograde memory) and the future (anterograde memory). While current opinion assumes a strong anatomical interdigitation in the processing of either kind of memory, recent single case reports and results obtained with the positron emission tomographic subtraction method indicate the likely existence of a dissociation: regions of the limbic system are primarily engaged in the encoding of autobiographical and semantic information, while cortical areas in the orbitofrontal and anterolateral temporo-polar regions are principally engaged in information retrieval. Within this retrieval system the right hemisphere may subserve episodic memory retrieval, and the left retrieval from the knowledge system (semantic memory).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amnesia, Retrograde / physiopathology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*