Dissociable parietal regions facilitate successful retrieval of recently learned and personally familiar information

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In fMRI analyses, the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is particularly active during the successful retrieval of episodic memory. To delineate the neural correlates of episodic retrieval more succinctly, we compared retrieval of recently learned spatial locations (photographs of buildings) with retrieval of previously familiar locations (photographs of familiar campus buildings). Episodic retrieval of recently learned locations activated a circumscribed region within the ventral PPC (anterior angular gyrus and adjacent regions in the supramarginal gyrus) as well as medial PPC regions (posterior cingulated gyrus and posterior precuneus). Retrieval of familiar locations activated more posterior regions in the ventral PPC (posterior angular gyrus, LOC) and more anterior regions in the medial PPC (anterior precuneus and retrosplenial cortex). These dissociable effects define more precisely PPC regions involved in the retrieval of recent, contextually bound information as opposed to regions involved in other processes, such as visual imagery, scene reconstruction, and self-referential processing.


★ We compared memory for recently learned and personally familiar locations. ★ There was dissociable activity within lateral and medial parietal cortex. ★ Anterior angular gyrus exhibited activity for recently learned items. ★ Posterior angular gyrus exhibited activity for personally familiar items. ★ Demonstrates functional heterogeneity of parietal regions involved in retrieval.

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