Common and specific brain regions in high- versus low-confidence recognition memory.
The goal of the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was to investigate whether and to what extent brain regions involved in high-confidence recognition (HCR) versus low-confidence recognition (LCR) overlap or separate from each other. To this end, we performed conjunction analyses involving activations elicited during high-confidence hit, low-confidence hit, and high-confidence correct rejection responses. The analyses yielded 3 main findings. First, sensory/perceptual and associated posterior regions were common to HCR and LCR, indicating contribution of these regions to both HCR and LCR activity. This finding may help explain why these regions are among the most common in functional neuroimaging studies of episodic retrieval. Second, medial temporal lobe (MTL) and associated midline regions were associated with HCR, possibly reflecting recollection-related processes, whereas specific prefrontal cortex (PFC) regions were associated with LCR, possibly reflecting executive control processes. This finding is consistent with the notion that the MTL and PFC networks play complementary roles during episodic retrieval. Finally, within posterior parietal cortex, a dorsal region was associated with LCR, possibly reflecting top-down attentional processes, whereas a ventral region was associated with HCR, possibly reflecting bottom-up attentional processes. This finding may help explain why functional neuroimaging studies have found diverse parietal effects during episodic retrieval. Taken together, our findings provide strong evidence that HCR versus LCR, and by implication, recollection versus familiarity processes, are represented in common as well as specific brain regions.
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