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Encoding-related brain activity during deep processing of verbal materials: a PET study

Toshikatsu Fujii, Jiro Okuda, Takashi Tsukiura, Hiroya Ohtake, Maki Suzuki, Ryuta Kawashima, Masatoshi Itoh, Hiroshi Fukuda, Atsushi Yamadori
Neuroscience Research 2002, 44 (4): 429-38
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The recent advent of neuroimaging techniques provides an opportunity to examine brain regions related to a specific memory process such as episodic memory encoding. There is, however, a possibility that areas active during an assumed episodic memory encoding task, compared with a control task, involve not only areas directly relevant to episodic memory encoding processes but also areas associated with other cognitive processes for on-line information. We used positron emission tomography (PET) to differentiate these two kinds of regions. Normal volunteers were engaged in deep (semantic) or shallow (phonological) processing of new or repeated words during PET. Results showed that deep processing, compared with shallow processing, resulted in significantly better recognition performance and that this effect was associated with activation of various brain areas. Further analyses revealed that there were regions directly relevant to episodic memory encoding in the anterior part of the parahippocampal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, and medial frontal lobe in the left hemisphere. Our results demonstrated that several regions, including the medial temporal lobe, play a role in episodic memory encoding.

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