Brain activation in processing temporal sequence: An fMRI study

Kristine M. Knutson, Jacqueline N. Wood, Jordan Grafman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Structured event complexes (SECs) are stored representations of sequential event knowledge, and represent sequences of activities that have been described elsewhere as scripts or schemas. Previous studies have shown that the prefrontal cortex is involved in temporal sequencing. The present study investigates the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in temporal order and membership judgments of script and category items by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this experiment, stimuli were either script events or category items. In experimental trials, subjects classified stimuli according to temporal order or membership category. Results show that the script order task and the chronological order task (relative to their respective memberships tasks) were associated with different patterns of PFC activation. Both order tasks activated the middle frontal gyrus bilaterally; however, script order tasks showed additional activation in right inferior frontal gyrus, and the chronological order tasks in left inferior frontal gyrus. These results suggest that while the middle frontal gyri are activated bilaterally in both script and chronological temporal ordering tasks, there are different, though largely overlapping, neural substrates for script and chronological representations during temporal ordering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1307
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Prefrontal cortex
  • SECs
  • Scripts
  • Semantic
  • Structured event complex
  • Temporal order

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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