The brain mechanism of memory encoding and retrieval: A review on the fMRI studies

( views:, downloads: )
WANG Ting-Ting(Center for Studies of Psychological Application, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
MO Lei(Center for Studies of Psychological Application, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
SHU Si-Yun(Center for Studies of Psychological Application, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
Journal Title:
Volume 61, Issue 05, 2009
Key Word:
memory encoding; memory retrieval; cerebral cortex; basal ganglia; striatum; hippocampus; fMRI

Abstract: Memory encoding and memory retrieval are two important processes of the memory. The main results of studies on the neural basis of the memory encoding and memory retrieval by functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) technique were summarized in this review. The neural basis of memory encoding and retrieval phases varies with different materials, memory types, and age stages. It means that the neural networks of these memory activities are separate. The functional locations of the activated brain areas during memory encoding and during memory retrieval phases are overlapped with distinction. The activated brain areas of memory encoding mainly locate in the prefrontal lobe, the temporal lobe, the parietal lobe, the anterior hippocampus, the thalamus, and the basal ganglia (including the striatum and the marginal division of the striatum). The activated brain areas of memory retrieval mainly locate in the prefrontal lobe, the temporal lobe, the entorhinal cortex, the perirhinal cortex, the posterior hippocampus, the thalamus, and the basal ganglia. The anterior hippocampus is mainly activated during the encoding phase, whereas posterior hippocampus is mainly activated during the retrieval phase. The intensity of the activated cerebral cortex regions during the encoding phase is stronger than that during the retrieval phase, whereas the opposite activated pattern is found in the subcortical structures, mainly the basal ganglia and thalamus, during the two phases. It seems that the stimulation might activate certain cerebral cortex areas during the memory encoding phase, then the information is transported to the subcortical structures and comes back, to the cerebral cortex to complete the memory retrieval phase. The encoding and retrieval phases of the memory are supposed to be accomplished by a neural circuit among the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus and cerebral cortex, rather than the cerebral cortex only.

  • [1]Kolers PA.Remembering operations.Mem Cognit 1973; 1:347-355.
  • [2]Craik FIM,Routh D,Broadbent DE.On the transfer of information from temporary to permanent memory.Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1983; 302:341-359.
  • [3]Laroche S,Davis S,Jay TM.Plasticity at hippocampal to prefrontal cortex synapses:dual roles in working memory and consolidation.Hippocampus 2000; 10(4):438-446.
  • [4]Myers CE,Shohamy D,Gluck MA,Grossman S,Kluger A,Ferris S,Golomb J,Schnirman G,Schwartz R.Dissociating hippocampal versus basal ganglia contributions to learning and transfer.J Cogn Neurosci 2003; 15(2):185-193.
  • [5]Shu SY,Wu YM,Bao XM,Wen ZB,Huang FH,Li SX,Fu QZ,Ning Q.A new area in the human brain associated with learning and memory:immunohistochemical and functional MRI analysis.Mol Psychiatry 2002; 7:1018-1022.
  • [6]Poldrack RA,Clark J,Pare-Blagoev EJ,Shohamy D,Creso MJ,Myers C,Gluck MA.Interactive memory systems in the human brain.Nature 2001; 414(6863):546-550.
  • [7]Shu SY,Wu YM,Bao XM,Leonard B.Interactions among memory-related centers in the brain.J Neurosci Res 2003; 71(5):609-616.
  • [8]Shu SY,Penny GR,Peterson GM.The 'Marginal Division':a new subdivision in the neostriatum of the rat.J Chem Neuroanat 1988; 1(3):147-163.
  • [9]Shu SY,McGinty J F,Peterson G M.High density zinccontaining and dynorph in B-and P-immunoreacive terminals in the marginal division of the rat striatum.Brain Res Bull 1990; 24(2):201-205.
  • [10]Feng Y (冯寅),Zhang LX,Chao DM.Role of melatonin in spatial learning and memory in rats and its mechanism.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2002; 54(1):65-70 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [11]Liu NB (刘能保),Li H,Liu XQ,Sun CY,Cheng SR,Zhang MH,Liu SC,Wang WX.Chronic multiple stress enhances learning and memory capability in rats.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2004; 56(5):615-619 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [12]Li D (李董),Du CY,Tang XJ,Jin YX,Lei T,Yao Y,Yang Z,Zhang T.Changes of heart rate variability and impairment of learning and memory induced by cerebral isehemia/reprefusion in rats.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2007; 59(1):35-41(Chinese,English abstract).
  • [13]Liu J (刘佳),Song AG.Remembrance characteristic of softness haptic perception in human fingertips.Acta Physiol Sin(生理学报) 2007; 59(3):387-392 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [14]Sun CY (孙臣友),Hu W,Qi SS,Dai KY,Hu SW,Lou XF.Effect of Rhizoma curcumae oil on the learning and memory in rats exposed to chronic hypoxia and the possible mechanisms.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2008; 60(2):228-234 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [15]Zhuo M.Synaptic and molecular mechanis of glutamatergic synapses in pain and memory.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报)2003; 55(1):1-8.
  • [16]Zhang L (张莉),Yu W,Han TZ,Xie W,Luo Y.Changes of NMDA receptor expression in rat hippocampal formation after establishment of spatial memory by different training modes.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2006; 58(5):442-448(Chinese,English abstrac0.
  • [17]Jiang ML,Han TZ,Yang DW,Chen MX.Morphological alteration of the hippocampal synapses in rats prenatally exposed to magnetic resonance imaging magnetic fields.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2003; 55(6):705-710.
  • [18]Shanelle WK,Ao HS,Amelia GM,Qiu CS,Wei F,Jeffrey M,Zhuo M.Transcription factor Egr-1 is required for long-term fear memory and anxiety.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2005; 57(4):421-432.
  • [19]Chen XH (陈旭红),Shu SY,Liang ZJ,Bao XM,Jiang G.Longterm avoidance memory of rat enhanced by injection of FK506 in the marginal division of striatum.Chin J Clin Rehabil (中国临床康复) 2005; 9(12):121-123 (Chinese,English abstrac).
  • [20]Shu SY,Bao XM,Ning Q,Wu YM,Wang J,Leonard BE.New component of the limbic system:marginal division of the neostriatum that links the limbic system to the basal nucleus of Meynert.J Neurosci 2003; 71:751-757.
  • [21]Shu SY,Bao XM,Li S,Niu D,Xu Z,Li Y.A new subdivision of mammalian neostriatum with functional implications to learning and memory.J Neurosci Res 1999; 58(2):231-237.
  • [22]Zheng JL (郑金龙),Wu YM,Shu SY,Han LX,Liu SH,Guo ZY,Bao XM,Zhang ZQ,Jin M,Ma HZ.Role of the cerebrum and cerebellum in cognition of the spatial memory in healthy volunteers:a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.Chin J Neuroanat (神经解剖学杂志) 2008; 24(2):127-130 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [23]Zheng JL (郑金龙),Shu SY,Liu SH,Guo ZY,Wu YM,Bao XM,Zhang ZQ,Jin M,Ma HZ.The brain areas and the neural mechanism involved in the Chinese paired-word associated learning and memory in healthy volunteers-a brain functional magnetic resonance imaging study.Eng Sci (中国工程科学学报) 2008; 5:38-45 (Chinese,English abstrac0.
  • [24]Zhang ZQ (张增强),Shu SY,Liu SH,Guo ZY,Wu YM,Bao Xm,Zheng JL,Ma HZ.Activated brain areas during simple and complex mental calculation-a functional MRI study.Acta Physiol Sin (生理学报) 2008; 60(4):504-510 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [25]Wu YM (吴永明),Shu SY,Bao XM,Wen ZB,Huang FH,Yang WK,Liu YH.Role of the marginal division of human neostriatum in working memory capacity for numbers received through hearing:a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.J First Mili Med Univ (第一军医大学学报) 2002; 22(12):1096-1098 (Chinese,English abstract).
  • [26]Craik FIM,Moroz TM,Moscovitch M,Stuss DT,Winocur G,Tulving E,Kapur S.In search of the self:A positron emission tomography study.Psychol Sci 1999; 10(1):26-34.
  • [27]Poldrack RA,Wagner AD,Prull MW,Desmond JE,Glover GH,Gabrieli JD.Functional specialization for semantic and phonological processing in the left inferior prefrontal cortex.Neuroimage 1999; 10(1):15-35.
  • [28]Klein D,Milner B,Zatorre RJ,Meyer E,Evans AC.The neural substrates underlying word generation:A bilingual functional imaging study.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1995; 92:2899-2903.
  • [29]Raichle ME,Fiez JA,Videen TO,MacLeod AM,Pardo JV,Fox PT,Petersen SE.Practice-related changes in human brain functional anatomy during nonmotor learning.Cereb Cortex 1994; 4(1):8-26.
  • [30]Kapur S,Tulving E,Cabeza R,Mclntosh AR,Houle S,Craik FI.The neural correlates of intentional learning of verbal materials:a PET study in humans.Cogni Brain Res 1996; 4(4):243-249.
  • [31]Epstein CM,Sekino M,Yamaguchi K,Kamiya S,Ueno S.Asymmetries of prefrontal cortex in human episodic memory:effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on learning abstract patterns.Neurosci Lett 2002; 320(1):5-8.
  • [32]Zeineh MM,Engel SA,Thompson PM,Bookheimer SY.Dynamics of the hippocampus during encoding and retrieval of face-name pairs.Science 2003; 299(5606):577-580.
  • [33]Kelley WL,Miezin FM,McDermott K,Buckner RL,Raichle ME,Cohen NJ,Petersen SE.Hemispheric specialization in human dorsal frontal cortex and medial temporal lobes for verbal and nonverbal memory encoding.Neuron 1998; 20:927-936.
  • [34]McDermott KB,Buckner RL,Petersen SE,Kelley WM,Sanders AL.Set-and code-specific activation in the frontal cortex:an fMRI study of encoding and retrieval of faces and words.J Cogn Neurosci 1999; 11(6):631-640.
  • [35]Wagner AD,Poldrack RA,Eldridge LL,Desmond JE,Glover GH,Gabrieli JDE.Material-specific lateralization of prefrontal activation during episodic encoding and retrieval.Neuroreport 1998; 9(16):3711-3717.
  • [36]Rekkas PV,Westerveld M,Skudlarski P,Zumer J,Pugh K.Spencer DD,Constable RT.Neural correlates of temporalorder judgments versus those of spatial-location:deactivation of hippocampus may faciliate spatial performance.Brain Cogn 2005; 59(2):103-113.
  • [37]Owen AM,Evans AC,Petrides M.Evidence for a two-stage model of spatial working memory processing within the lateral frontal cortex:a positron emission tomography study.Cereb Cortex 1996; 6(1):31-38.
  • [38]Zhang DR,Li ZH,Chen XC,Wang ZX,Zhang XC,Meng XM,He S,Hu XP.Functional comparison of primary,middle and recency retrieval in human auditory short-term memory:an event-related fMRI study.Cogn Brain Res 2003; 16(1):91-98.
  • [39]Buckner RL,Koutsaal W,Wilma K.Functional neuroimaging studies of encoding,priming and explicit memory retrieval.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998; 95(3):891-898.
  • [40]Wagner AD,Schacter D,Rotte M,Koutstaal W,Maril A,Dale AM,Rosen BR,Buckner RL.Building memories:remembering and forgetting of verbal experiences as predicted by brain activity.Science 1998; 281(5380):1188-1191.
  • [41]Newsome MR,Steinberg JL,Scheibel RS,Troyanskaya M,Chu Z,Hanten G,Lu H,Lane S,Lin X,Hunter JV,Vasquez C,Zientz J,Li X,Wilde EA,Levin HS.Effects of traumatic brain injury on working memory-related brain activation in adolescents.Neuropsychology 2008; 22(4):419-425.
  • [42]Zhang ZQ (张增强),Zheng JL,Shu SY,Wu YM,Guo ZY,Liu SH,Ban XM,Ma HZ.A study on spatial working memory in human brain by functional magnetic resonance imaging technique.Chin J Nerv Ment Dis (中国神经精神疾病杂志) 2008; 34(6):338-341 (Chinese,English abstrac).
  • [43]Braver TS,Barch DM,Kelley WM,Buckner RL,Cohen NJ,Miezin FM,Snyder AZ,Ollinger JM,Akbudak E,Conturo TE,Petersen SE.Direct comparison of prefrontal cortex region engaged by working and long-term memory tasks.Neuroimage 2001; 14(1):48-59.
  • [44]Xu Y,Chun MM.Dissociable neural mechanisms supporting visual short-term memory for objects.Nature 2006; 440:91-95.
  • [45]Anderson MC,Ochsner KN,Kuhl B,Cooper J,Robertson E,Gabrieli SW,Glover GH,Gabrieli JD.Neural systems underlying the suppression of unwanted memories.Science 2004; 303:232-235.
  • [46]Richardson MP,Strange BA,Duncan JS,Dolan RJ.Memory fMRI in left hippocampal sclerosis:optimizing the approach to predicting postsurgical memory.Neurology 2006; 66:699-705.
  • [47]Elfgron C,van Westen D,Passant U,Larsson EM,Mannfolk P,Fransson P.fMRI activity in the medial temporal lobe during famous face processing.Neuroimage 2006; 30(2):609-616.
  • [48]Cabeza R,Locantore JK,Anderson ND.Lateralization of prefrontal activity during episodic memory retrieval:evidence for the production-monitoring hypothesis.J Cogn Neurosci 2003; 15(2):249-259.
  • [49]Chiu CY,Schmithorst VJ,Brown RD,Holland SK,Dunn S.Making memories:a cross-sectional investigation of episodic memory encoding in childhood using fMRI.Dev Neuropsychol 2006; 29(2):321-340.
  • [50]Dennis NA,Hayes SM,Prince SE,Madden DJ,Huettel SA,Cabeza R.Effects of aging on the neural correlates of successful item and source memory encoding.J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 2008; 34(4):791-808.
  • [51]Anderson ND,Iidaka T,Cabeza R,Kapur S,Mclntosh AR,Craik FI.The effects of divided attention on encoding-and retrieval-related brain activity:a PET study of younger and older adults.J Cogn Neurosci 2000; 12(5):775-792.
  • [52]Sperling RA,Bates JF,Chua EF,Cocchiarella A J,Rentz DM,Rosen BR,Schacter DL,Albert MS.fMRI studies of associative encoding in young and elderly controls and mild Alzheimer's disease.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003; 74(1):44-50.
  • [53]Buckner RL.Memory and executive function in aging and AD:multiple factors that cause decline and reserve factors that compensate.Neuron 2004; 44(1):195-208
  • [54]Reuter-Lorenz PA.New visions of the aging mind and brain.Trends Cogn 2002; 6(9):394-400.
  • [55]Sun XW,Zhang XC,Chen XC,Zhang P,Bao M,Zhang DR,Chen J,He S,Hu X.Age-dependent brain activation daring forward and backward digit recall revealed by fMRI.Neuroimage 2005; 26:36-47.
  • [56]Cabeza R,Nyberg L.Imaging cognition:an empirical review of 275 PET and fMRI studies.Neuron 2004; 44:195-208.
  • [57]Grady CL,McIntosh AR,Beig S,Keightley ML,Burian H,Black SE.Evidence from functional neuroimaging of a compensatory prefrontal network in Alzheimer's disease.J Neurosci 2003; 23(3):986-993.
  • [58]Gazzaniga MS,Ivey RB,Mangun GR.Cognitive Neuroscience:the Biology of the Mind.2nd ed.New York:Norton press,2002,301-351.
  • [59]Simons JS,Spiers HJ.Prefrontal and medial temporal lobe interactions in long-term memory.Neuroscience 2003; 4(8):637-648.
  • [60]Joseph BH.Hemispheric Asymmetry-What's Right and What's Left.Cambridge:Harvard University Press,1993,32-
WanfangData CO.,Ltd All Rights Reserved
About WanfangData | Contact US
Healthcare Department, Fuxing Road NO.15, Haidian District Beijing, 100038 P.R.China
Tel:+86-010-58882616 Fax:+86-010-58882615