The Neural Substrates of Memory Suppression: A fMRI Exploration of Directed Forgetting

Cyclotron Research Centre, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 01/2012; 7(1):e29905. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029905
Source: PubMed


The directed forgetting paradigm is frequently used to determine the ability to voluntarily suppress information. However, little is known about brain areas associated with information to forget. The present study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine brain activity during the encoding and retrieval phases of an item-method directed forgetting recognition task with neutral verbal material in order to apprehend all processing stages that information to forget and to remember undergoes. We hypothesized that regions supporting few selective processes, namely recollection and familiarity memory processes, working memory, inhibitory and selection processes should be differentially activated during the processing of to-be-remembered and to-be-forgotten items. Successful encoding and retrieval of items to remember engaged the entorhinal cortex, the hippocampus, the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, the left inferior parietal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex and the precuneus; this set of regions is well known to support deep and associative encoding and retrieval processes in episodic memory. For items to forget, encoding was associated with higher activation in the right middle frontal and posterior parietal cortex, regions known to intervene in attentional control. Items to forget but nevertheless correctly recognized at retrieval yielded activation in the dorsomedial thalamus, associated with familiarity-based memory processes and in the posterior intraparietal sulcus and the anterior cingulate cortex, involved in attentional processes.

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Available from: Fabienne Collette
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    • "The fMRI data suggest that the answer is positive and that the frontal control process might have an important role in directed forgetting [1]. Bastin et al. (2012) examined the neural substrates associated with remembering and forgetting at both the encoding and retrieval stages. Encoding TBF items was associated with higher activation in the right middle frontal and posterior parietal cortex, known to intervene in attentional control [18]. "
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