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Neuroimage. 2004 Jan;21(1):456-62.

Encoding activity in anterior medial temporal lobe supports subsequent associative recognition.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The ability to bind information together, such as linking a name with a face or a car with a parking space, is a vital process in human episodic memory. To identify the neural bases for this binding process, we measured brain activity during a verbal associative encoding task using event-related functional MRI (fMRI), followed by an associative recognition test for the studied word pairs. Analysis of the encoding data sorted by the associative recognition accuracy allowed us to isolate regions involved in successfully creating associations. We found that encoding activity in bilateral anterior medial temporal lobe (MTL) regions was greater for successfully bound pairs, that is, those later recognized as intact, than for all other pairs. These findings provide evidence that the anterior medial temporal lobes support the successful binding of information in memory.

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