Dataset Information


Dynamic Content Reactivation Supports Naturalistic Autobiographical Recall in Humans.

ABSTRACT: Humans can vividly recall and re-experience events from their past, and these are commonly referred to as episodic or autobiographical memories. fMRI experiments reliably associate autobiographical event recall with activity in a network of "default" or "core" brain regions. However, as prior studies have relied on covert (silent) recall procedures, current understanding may be hampered by methodological limitations that obscure dynamic effects supporting moment-to-moment content retrieval. Here, fMRI participants (N = 40) overtly (verbally) recalled memories for ?2 min periods. The content of spoken descriptions was categorized using a variant of the Autobiographical Interview (AI) procedure (Levine et al., 2002) and temporally re-aligned with BOLD data so activity accompanying the recall of different details could be measured. Replicating prior work, sustained effects associated with autobiographical recall periods (which are insensitive to the moment-to-moment content of retrieval) fell primarily within canonical default network regions. Spoken descriptions were rich in episodic details, frequently focusing on physical entities, their ongoing activities, and their appearances. Critically, neural activity associated with recalling specific details (e.g., those related to people or places) was transient, broadly distributed, and grounded in category-selective cortex (e.g., regions related to social cognition or scene processing). Thus, although a single network may generally support the process of vivid event reconstruction, the structures required to provide detail-related information shift in a predictable manner that respects domain-level representations across the cortex.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Humans can vividly recall memories of autobiographical episodes, a process thought to involve the reconstruction of numerous distinct event details. Yet how the brain represents a complex episode as it unfolds over time remains unclear and appears inconsistent across experimental traditions. One hurdle is the use of covert (silent) in-scanner recall to study autobiographical memory, which prevents experimenter knowledge of what information is being retrieved, and when, throughout the remembering process. In this experiment, participants overtly described autobiographical memories while undergoing fMRI. Activity associated with the recall and description of specific details was transient, broadly distributed, and grounded in category-selective cortex. Thus, it appears that as events unfold mentally, structures are dynamically reactivated to support vivid recollection.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7786205 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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