Content-Specific Source Encoding in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe

T. Awipi, L. Davachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the medial temporal lobe (MTL) is known to be essential for episodic encoding, the contributions of individual MTL subregions remain unclear. Data from recognition memory studies have provided evidence that the hippocampus supports relational encoding important for later episodic recollection, whereas the perirhinal cortex has been linked with encoding that supports later item familiarity. However, extant data also strongly implicate the perirhinal cortex in object processing and encoding, suggesting that perirhinal processes may contribute to later episodic recollection of object source details. To investigate this possibility, encoding activation in MTL subregions was analyzed on the basis of subsequent memory outcome while participants processed novel scenes paired with 1 of 6 repeating objects. Specifically, encoding activation correlating with later successful scene recognition memory was evaluated against that of source recollection for the object paired with the scene during encoding. In contrast to studies reporting a link between perirhinal cortex and item familiarity, it was found that encoding activation in the right perirhinal cortex correlates with successful recollection of the paired object. Furthermore, other MTL subregions also exhibited content-specific source encoding patterns of activation, suggesting that MTL subsequent memory effects are sensitive to stimulus category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-779
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • domain specificity
  • fMRI
  • medial temporal lobe
  • perirhinal cortex
  • recollection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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