Left prefrontal activation during episodic remembering: an event-related fMRI study

Neuroreport. 1998 Oct 26;9(15):3509-14. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199810260-00032.


The major current theory relating brain mechanisms in prefrontal cortex (PFC) to memory for discrete events (episodic memory) emphasizes the role of right PFC during retrieval. Using event-related fMRI, we found both right and left PFC activity during episodic remembering, but only the left PFC activity was related to the amount of episodic detail required at test. We suggest that right PFC subserves relatively simple, heuristic, cognitive processes and that left PFC is recruited for more reflectively demanding, systematic, processes. Episodic remembering often requires such systematic processes and, under those circumstances, recruits left, as well as right, PFC.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology