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Neuroimage. 2012 Nov 15;63(3):1343-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.07.057. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Top-down and bottom-up attention-to-memory: mapping functional connectivity in two distinct networks that underlie cued and uncued recognition memory.

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ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.


The objective of this study was to examine the functional connectivity of brain regions active during cued and uncued recognition memory to test the idea that distinct networks would underlie these memory processes, as predicted by the attention-to-memory (AtoM) hypothesis. The AtoM hypothesis suggests that dorsal parietal cortex (DPC) allocates effortful top-down attention to memory retrieval during cued retrieval, whereas ventral parietal cortex (VPC) mediates spontaneous bottom-up capture of attention by memory during uncued retrieval. To identify networks associated with these two processes, we conducted a functional connectivity analysis of a left DPC and a left VPC region, both identified by a previous analysis of task-related regional activations. We hypothesized that the two parietal regions would be functionally connected with distinct neural networks, reflecting their engagement in the differential mnemonic processes. We found two spatially dissociated networks that overlapped only in the precuneus. During cued trials, DPC was functionally connected with dorsal attention areas, including the superior parietal lobules, right precuneus, and premotor cortex, as well as relevant memory areas, such as the left hippocampus and the middle frontal gyri. During uncued trials, VPC was functionally connected with ventral attention areas, including the supramarginal gyrus, cuneus, and right fusiform gyrus, as well as the parahippocampal gyrus. In addition, activity in the DPC network was associated with faster response times for cued retrieval. This is the first study to show a dissociation of the functional connectivity of posterior parietal regions during episodic memory retrieval, characterized by a top-down AtoM network involving DPC and a bottom-up AtoM network involving VPC.

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