FMRI of memory

Federica Agosta, Indre V. Viskontas, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous fMRI studies have investigated the network of brain regions critical for memory. Whereas neuropsychological techniques can delineate the brain regions that are necessary for intact memory function, neuroimaging techniques can be used to investigate which regions are recruited during healthy memory formation, storage, and retrieval. For example, fMRI studies have shown that lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) supports some components of working memory function. However, working memory is not localized to a single brain region but is likely a property of the functional interaction between the PFC and posterior brain regions. The medial temporal lobe (MTL) and its connections with neocortical, prefrontal, and limbic structures are implicated in episodic memory. Semantic memory is mediated by a network of neocortical structures, including lateral and anterior temporal lobes, and inferior frontal cortex, possibly to a greater extent in the left hemisphere. Memory for semantic information benefits from the MTL for only a limited time, and can be acquired, albeit slowly and with difficulty, without it. To date, most of the emphasis has been on exploring the unique aspects of these different types of memory. Some evidence, however, of functional overlap in general retrieval processes does exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-409
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Encoding
  • Episodic memory
  • Medial tmporal lobe
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Retrieval
  • Semantic memory
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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