The mind's eye--precuneus activation in memory-related imagery

Neuroimage. 1995 Sep;2(3):195-200. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1995.1025.


We examined brain activity associated with visual imagery at episodic memory retrieval using positron emission tomography (PET). Twelve measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were taken in six right-handed, healthy, male volunteers. During six measurements, they were engaged in the cued recall of imageable verbal paired associates. During the other six measurements, they recalled nonimageable paired associates. Memory performance was equalized across all word lists. The subjects' use of an increased degree of visual imagery during the recall of imageable paired associates was confirmed using subjective rating scales after each scan. Memory-related imagery was associated with significant activation of a medial parietal area, the precuneus. This finding confirms a previously stated hypothesis about the precuneus and provides strong evidence that it is a key part of the neural substate of visual imagery occurring in conscious memory recall.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Paired-Associate Learning / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*