Memory Meets Control in Hippocampal and Striatal Binding of Stimuli, Responses, and Attentional Control States.
The human brain encodes experience in an integrative fashion by binding together the various features of an event (i.e., stimuli and responses) into memory "event files." A subsequent reoccurrence of an event feature can then cue the retrieval of the memory file to "prime" cognition and action. Intriguingly, recent behavioral studies indicate that, in addition to linking concrete stimulus and response features, event coding may also incorporate more abstract, "internal" event features such as attentional control states. In the present study, we used fMRI in healthy human volunteers to determine the neural mechanisms supporting this type of holistic event binding. Specifically, we combined fMRI with a task protocol that dissociated the expression of event feature-binding effects pertaining to concrete stimulus and response features, stimulus categories, and attentional control demands. Using multivariate neural pattern classification, we show that the hippocampus and putamen integrate event attributes across all of these levels in conjunction with other regions representing concrete-feature-selective (primarily visual cortex), category-selective (posterior frontal cortex), and control demand-selective (insula, caudate, anterior cingulate, and parietal cortex) event information. Together, these results suggest that the hippocampus and putamen are involved in binding together holistic event memories that link physical stimulus and response characteristics with internal representations of stimulus categories and attentional control states. These bindings then presumably afford shortcuts to adaptive information processing and response selection in the face of recurring events.Memory binds together the different features of our experience, such as an observed stimulus and concurrent motor responses, into so-called event files. Recent behavioral studies suggest that the observer's internal attentional state might also become integrated into the event memory. Here, we used fMRI to determine the brain areas responsible for binding together event information pertaining to concrete stimulus and response features, stimulus categories, and internal attentional control states. We found that neural signals in the hippocampus and putamen contained information about all of these event attributes and could predict behavioral priming effects stemming from these features. Therefore, medial temporal lobe and dorsal striatum structures appear to be involved in binding internal control states to event memories.
Jiang, J; Brashier, NM; Egner, T
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