Pattern reactivation co-varies with activity in the core recollection network during source memory


Neuroimaging studies of episodic memory have consistently demonstrated that memory retrieval involves reactivating patterns of neural activity that were present during encoding, and these effects are thought to reflect the qualitative retrieval (recollection) of information that is specific to the content of an episode. By contrast, recollection is also accompanied by other neural correlates that generalize across episodic content and are consequently referred to as the ``core recollection network”. The neural mechanism by which these specific and core effects interact to give rise to episodic memory retrieval is largely unknown. The current study addressed this issue by testing for correlations (connectivity) between pattern reactivation and activity in the core recollection network. Subjects encoded a series of words with different tasks and then completed a two-step source memory test, whereby they identified the task (source) previously associated with the word and the confidence of that judgment. Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) was used in combination with fMRI to first identify encoding-related neural patterns and then test for their reactivation during retrieval. Consistent with prior findings, the magnitude of reactivation increased with source-memory confidence. Moreover, individual-trial measures of reactivation exhibited positive correlations with activity in multiple regions of the core recollection network. Importantly, evidence of functional connectivity between pattern reactivation and a region of left posterior parietal cortex supports the role of this region in tracking the retrieval of episodic information in service of making subjective memory decisions.

Neuropsychologia, 75, 88–98