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Memory for object features versus memory for object location: a positron-emission tomography study of encoding and retrieval processes.

  • A M Owen
  • B Milner
  • M Petrides
  • A C Evans
Publication Date
Aug 20, 1996
  • Design
  • Medicine


Regional cerebral blood flow was measured with positron-emission tomography during two encoding and two retrieval tasks that were designed to compare memory for object features with memory for object locations. Bilateral increases in regional cerebral blood flow were observed in both anterior and posterior regions of inferior temporal cortex and in ventral regions of prestriate cortex, when the condition that required retrieval of object locations was subtracted from the condition that required retrieval of object features. During encoding, these changes were less pronounced and were restricted to the left inferior temporal cortex and right ventral prestriate cortex. In contrast, both encoding and retrieval of object location were associated with bilateral changes in dorsal prestriate and posterior parietal cortex. Finally, the two encoding conditions activated left frontal lobe regions preferentially, whereas the two retrieval conditions activated right frontal lobe regions. These findings confirm that, in human subjects, memory for object features is mediated by a distributed system that includes ventral prestriate cortex and both anterior and posterior regions of the inferior temporal gyrus. In contrast, memory for the locations of objects appears to be mediated by an anatomically distinct system that includes more dorsal regions of prestriate cortex and posterior regions of the parietal lobe.

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