Episodic memory retrieval most often recruits multiple separate processes that are thought to involve different temporal regions. Previous studies suggest dissociable regions in the left lateral parietal cortex that are associated with the retrieval processes. Moreover, studies using resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) have provided evidence for the temporo-parietal memory networks that may support the retrieval processes. In this functional MRI study, we tested functional significance of the memory networks by examining functional connectivity of brain activity during episodic retrieval in the temporal and parietal regions of the memory networks. Recency judgments, judgments of the temporal order of past events, can be achieved by at least two retrieval processes, relational and item-based. Neuroimaging results revealed several temporal and parietal activations associated with relational/item-based recency judgments. Significant RSFC was observed between one parahippocampal region and one left lateral parietal region associated with relational recency judgments, and between four lateral temporal regions and another left lateral parietal region associated with item-based recency judgments. Functional connectivity during task was found to be significant between the parahippocampal region and the parietal region in the RSFC network associated with relational recency judgments. However, out of the four tempo-parietal RSFC networks associated with item-based recency judgments, only one of them (between the left posterior lateral temporal region and the left lateral parietal region) showed significant functional connectivity during task. These results highlight the contrasting roles of the parahippocampal and the lateral temporal regions in recency judgments, and suggest that only a part of the tempo-parietal RSFC networks are recruited to support particular retrieval processes.
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