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Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(3):350-64. Epub 2005 Jul 26.

Dissociating prefrontal contributions during a recency memory task.

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Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, 132 Barker Hall MC #3190, Berkeley, CA 94720-3190, USA.


Neuroimaging studies of normal young adults have consistently found right prefrontal cortex (RPFC) activity during the performance of recency memory tasks. However, it is unclear whether the involvement of RPFC during these tasks reflects retrieval processes or executive processes such as: strategic ordering or monitoring. In the current study, we distinguish between those PFC regions that are more related to retrieval processes, versus strategic ordering processes. An event-related fMRI study was conducted in which eight young subjects were scanned while performing verbal episodic retrieval tasks (recognition and recency memory tasks), and verbal non-memory strategic organizing control tasks (reverse alphabetizing of words). The fMRI results show that young subjects engaged right dorsolateral PFC during recency and reverse alphabetizing control tasks. Left ventral PFC was engaged across all tasks; however, a subset of voxels within this region was more active during retrieval tasks. Left dorsolateral and right ventral PFC activity was more related to the performance of reverse alphabetizing tasks, respectively. We conclude that right dorsolateral PFC activity during recency memory reflects more general strategic organizational or monitoring processes, and is not EM-specific.

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