Comparison of the Neural Correlates of Retrieval Success in Tests of Cued Recall and Recognition Memory

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The neural correlates of successful retrieval on tests of word stem recall and recognition memory were compared. In the recall test, subjects viewed word stems, half of which were associated with studied items and half with unstudied items, and for each stem attempted to recall a corresponding study word. In the recognition test, old/new judgments were made on old and new words. The neural correlates of successful retrieval were identified by contrasting activity elicited by correctly endorsed test items. Old > new effects common to the two tasks were found in medial and lateral parietal and right entorhinal cortex. Common new > old effects were identified in medial and left frontal cortex, and left anterior intra-parietal sulcus. Greater old > new effects were evident for cued recall in inferior parietal regions abutting those demonstrating common effects, whereas larger new > old effects were found for recall in left frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate. New > old effects were also found for the recall task in right lateral anterior prefrontal cortex, where they were accompanied by old > new effects during recognition. It is concluded that successful recall and recognition are associated with enhanced activity in a common set of recollection-sensitive parietal regions, and that the greater activation in these regions during recall reflects the greater dependence of that task on recollection. Larger new > old effects during recall are interpreted as reflections of the greater opportunity for iterative retrieval attempts when retrieval cues are partial rather than copy cues. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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