Encoding activity in the medial temporal lobe examined with anatomically constrained fMRI analysis

Paul J. Reber*, Eric C. Wong, Richard B. Buxton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Functional neuroimaging studies have produced a sizable number of observations of increased activity in the human medial temporal lobe (MTL) during encoding of novel memories. The studies have suggested possible functional specialization within the anatomical components of the MTL (hippocampus and the entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortical areas). Neuroimaging studies have just begun to link anatomical regions to specific functions. To address functional specialization hypothesis, a method is described for using high-resolution structural information from magnetic resonance imaging MRI to constrain the analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, for independent assessment of functional activity change in each component of the MTL. With this method, increased activity was detected throughout the MTL in a group of participants (n = 5) who encoded novel pictures. A separate group (n = 5) who encoded words exhibited lower-levels of evoked activity. Laterality effects were found reflecting increased right hemisphere activity during picture encoding (parahippocampal cortex) and increased left hemisphere activity during word encoding (posterior hippocampus and parahippocampal cortex). Neither condition provided evidence for greater activity in the posterior hippocampus than in the anterior hippocampus during encoding, although the greatest increases in activity were observed in the parahippocampal cortex. The anatomically driven methodology is shown to provide detailed comparison of levels of activity change across specific brain areas and to provide increased sensitivity to functional change in each region of the MTL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-376
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Encoding
  • Memory function
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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