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Neuropsychologia. 2012 Nov;50(13):3094-106. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.08.008. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Brain regions involved in the retrieval of spatial and episodic details associated with a familiar environment: an fMRI study.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare brain activity during the retrieval of coarse- and fine-grained spatial details and episodic details associated with a familiar environment. Long-time Toronto residents compared pairs of landmarks based on their absolute geographic locations (requiring either coarse or fine discriminations) or based on previous visits to those landmarks (requiring episodic details). An ROI analysis of the hippocampus showed that all three conditions activated the hippocampus bilaterally. Fine-grained spatial judgments recruited an additional region of the right posterior hippocampus, while episodic judgments recruited an additional region of the right anterior hippocampus, and a more extensive region along the length of the left hippocampus. To examine whole-brain patterns of activity, Partial Least Squares (PLS) analysis was used to identify sets of brain regions whose activity covaried with the three conditions. All three comparison judgments recruited the default mode network including the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial cortex, middle frontal gyrus, hippocampus, and precuneus. Fine-grained spatial judgments also recruited additional regions of the precuneus, parahippocampal cortex and the supramarginal gyrus. Episodic judgments recruited the posterior cingulate and medial frontal lobes as well as the angular gyrus. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for theories of hippocampal function and spatial and episodic memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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