Evidence for a specific role of the anterior hippocampal region in successful associative encoding

Authors

  • Elizabeth F. Chua,

    1. Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    3. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    4. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
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  • Daniel L. Schacter,

    1. Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    2. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
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  • Erin Rand-Giovannetti,

    1. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    3. Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Reisa A. Sperling

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    3. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    4. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts
    • Memory Disorders Unit, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Abstract

It has been well established that the hippocampal formation plays a critical role in the formation of memories. However, functional specialization within the hippocampus remains controversial. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a face-name associative encoding task, followed by a postscan recognition test for face memory and face-name pair memory, we investigated the roles of anterior and posterior hippocampal regions in successful encoding of associations and items. Whole-brain and region of interest (ROI) analyses revealed that the anterior hippocampal formation showed increased activation for subsequently remembered face-name associations compared with pairs that were forgotten. In contrast, the posterior hippocampal formation showed activation above baseline during attempted encoding of face-name pairs, but no evidence of differential activation based on subsequent memory. Furthermore, exploratory whole-brain analyses revealed that a parahippocampal region, most likely corresponding to perirhinal cortex, showed subsequent memory effects for faces. These data provide evidence for functional specialization within the hippocampal formation based on the associative nature of the stimuli and subsequent memory. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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