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Can J Exp Psychol. 1996 Mar;50(1):42-56.

Functional mapping of human memory using PET: comparisons of conceptual and perceptual tasks.

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NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


An experiment is reported in which regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) as measured using positron emission tomography (PET) as participants performed conceptual and perceptual memory tasks. Blood flow during two conceptual tests of semantic cued recall and semantic association was compared to a control condition in which participants made semantic associations to nonstudied words. Analogously, rCBF during two perceptual tasks of word fragment cued recall and word fragment completion was compared to a word fragment nonstudied control condition. A direct comparison of conceptual and perceptual tasks showed that conceptual tasks activated medial and lateral left hemisphere in frontal and temporal regions as well as the lateral aspect of bilateral inferior parietal lobule. Perceptual tasks, in contrast, produced relatively greater activation in right frontal and temporal cortex as well as bilateral activation in more posterior regions. Comparisons of the memory tasks with their control conditions revealed memory-specific deactivations in left medial and superior temporal cortex as well as left frontal cortex for both conceptual tasks. In contrast, memory-specific deactivations for both perceptual fragment completion tests were localized in posterior regions including occipital cortex. Results from this and other functional imaging experiments provide evidence that conceptual and perceptual memory processes are subserved, at least in part, by different neurological structures in the human brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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