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Neuroreport. 1997 Mar 24;8(5):1283-7.

Brain regions supporting intentional and incidental memory: a PET study.

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Wellcome Brain Research Group, School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK.


Regional brain activity associated with intentional and incidental memory retrieval was studied with PET. Previously studied and new words were presented in either an intentional or an incidental memory task. Type of task was crossed with an encoding manipulation ('deep' vs 'shallow') which varied the probability that studied items would be remembered. In both tasks, deeply encoded items were associated with greater activation in the left hippocampus than were items that had received shallow encoding, suggesting that the involvement of the hippocampus in memory retrieval is independent of whether remembering is intentional or incidental. Right prefrontal and bilateral parietal cortex were more activated during the international task than during the incidental task, irrespective of encoding condition. Thus, these regions play a more extensive role in memory retrieval when remembering is intentional.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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