Effective connectivity during autobiographical memory search

Published in Brain and Behavior, 2020

By N. E. Nawa and H. Ando

Paper URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32538553/

Short summary: We used dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to examine effective connectivity during cued autobiographical memory (AM) search in a left-hemispheric network consisting of six major regions within the large network of brain regions recruited during memory retrieval processes. Functional MRI data were acquired while participants were shown verbal cues describing common life events and requested to search for a personal memory associated with the cue. We examined directed couplings between the ventromedial (vmPFC), dorsomedial (dmPFC), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (dlPFC), hippocampus, angular gyrus, and the posterior midline cortex (RSC/PCC/Prec).

Results showed that during AM search, the vmPFC, dlPFC, and RSC/PCC/Prec acted as primary drivers of activity in the rest of the network. Moreover, when AM search completed successfully (Hits), the effective connectivity of the hippocampus on the vmPFC and angular gyrus was up-modulated. Likewise, there was an increase in the influence of the RSC/PCC/Prec in the activity of the dlPFC and dmPFC. Further analysis indicated that the modulation observed during Hits is primarily a distributed phenomenon that relies on the interplay between different brain regions.

These results suggest that prefrontal and posterior midline cortical regions together with the dlPFC largely coordinate the processes underlying AM search, setting up the conditions on which the angular gyrus and the hippocampus may act upon when the outcome of the search is successful.

Download paper here