Retrieval of high-fidelity memory arises from distributed cortical networks

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Medial temporal lobe (MTL) function is well established as necessary for memory of facts and events. It is likely that lateral cortical regions critically guide cognitive control processes to tune in high-fidelity details that are most relevant for memory retrieval. Here, convergent results from functional and structural MRI show that retrieval of detailed episodic memory arises from lateral cortical—MTL networks, including regions of inferior frontal and angular gyrii. Results also suggest that recognition of items based on low-fidelity, generalized information, rather than memory arising from retrieval of relevant episodic details, is not associated with functional connectivity between MTL and lateral cortical regions. Additionally, individual differences in microstructural properties in white matter pathways, associated with distributed MTL-cortical networks, are positively correlated with better performance on a mnemonic discrimination task.

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