Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurophysiol. 2011 Apr;105(4):1454-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00902.2010. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

The timing of associative memory formation: frontal lobe and anterior medial temporal lobe activity at associative binding predicts memory.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, California, USA.


The process of associating items encountered over time and across variable time delays is fundamental for creating memories in daily life, such as for stories and episodes. Forming associative memory for temporally discontiguous items involves medial temporal lobe structures and additional neocortical processing regions, including prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe, and lateral occipital regions. However, most prior memory studies, using concurrently presented stimuli, have failed to examine the temporal aspect of successful associative memory formation to identify when activity in these brain regions is predictive of associative memory formation. In the current study, functional MRI data were acquired while subjects were shown pairs of sequentially presented visual images with a fixed interitem delay within pairs. This design allowed the entire time course of the trial to be analyzed, starting from onset of the first item, across the 5.5-s delay period, and through offset of the second item. Subjects then completed a postscan recognition test for the items and associations they encoded during the scan and their confidence for each. After controlling for item-memory strength, we isolated brain regions selectively involved in associative encoding. Consistent with prior findings, increased regional activity predicting subsequent associative memory success was found in anterior medial temporal lobe regions of left perirhinal and entorhinal cortices and in left prefrontal cortex and lateral occipital regions. The temporal separation within each pair, however, allowed extension of these findings by isolating the timing of regional involvement, showing that increased response in these regions occurs during binding but not during maintenance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center