- Dissociating the "retrieval success" regions of the brain: Effects of retrieval delay
- Volume | Issue number
- 48 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
There is abundant evidence that the hippocampal formation critically supports episodic memory retrieval, the remembering of episodes including contextual details. Yet, a group of other brain regions has also been consistently implicated in successful episodic retrieval. This retrieval success network (RSN) includes the posterior midline region, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). Despite these consistent findings, the functional roles of the RSN regions remain poorly understood. Given that vivid remembering leads to high-confidence retrieval decisions, it is unclear whether activity in these regions reflects episodic long-term memory, or is merely associated with retrieval confidence. In order to distinguish between these alternatives, we manipulated study-test delays within the context of a continuous recognition task during fMRI-scanning. The design was based on previous evidence indicating that retrieval at short delays is easier leading to high-evidence mnemonic decisions, whereas retrieval at longer delays is more difficult but also more hippocampus-dependent. Confirming previous findings, we found that retrieval decisions at short delays were more accurate and faster, and that the hippocampus showed greater activity at longer delays. Within the other RSN regions, we found three distinct activation patterns as a function of delay. Similar to the hippocampus, the retrosplenial cortex showed increased activity as a function of retrieval delay. Dorsal PPC and the precuneus showed decreased activity. Finally, the posterior cingulate, medial PFC and ventral PPC showed a V-shaped pattern. These findings support the idea that dorsal PPC and the precuneus are involved in decision-related retrieval processes rather than successful remembering.
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