Dissociable roles of the anterior temporal regions in successful encoding of memory for person identity information.

Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4.69). 10/2009; 22(10):2226-37. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21349
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Memory for person identity information consists of three main components: face-related information, name-related information, and person-related semantic information, such as the person's job title. Although previous studies have demonstrated the importance of the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) in the retrieval of associations between these kinds of information, there is no evidence concerning whether the ATL region contributes to the encoding of this memory, and whether ATL roles are dissociable between different levels of association in this memory. Using fMRI, we investigated dissociable roles within the ATL during successful encoding of this memory. During encoding, participants viewed unfamiliar faces, each paired with a job title and name. During retrieval, each learned face was presented with two job titles or two names, and participants were required to choose the correct job title or name. Successful encoding conditions were categorized by subsequent retrieval conditions: successful encoding of names and job titles (HNJ), names (HN), and job titles (HJ). The study yielded three main findings. First, the dorsal ATL showed greater activations in HNJ than in HN or HJ. Second, ventral ATL activity was greater in HNJ and HJ than in HN. Third, functional connectivity between these regions was significant during successful encoding. The results are the first to demonstrate that the dorsal and ventral ATL roles are dissociable between two steps of association, associations of person-related semantics with name and with face, and a dorsal-ventral ATL interaction predicts subsequent retrieval success of memory for person identity information.

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