Enhanced reinstatement of naturalistic event memories due to hippocampal-network-targeted stimulation

Melissa Hebscher*, James E. Kragel, Thorsten Kahnt, Joel L. Voss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Episodic memory involves the reinstatement of distributed patterns of brain activity present when events were initially experienced. The hippocampus is thought to coordinate reinstatement via its interactions with a network of brain regions, but this hypothesis has not been causally tested in humans. The current study directly tested the involvement of the hippocampal network in reinstatement using network-targeted noninvasive stimulation. We measured reinstatement of multi-voxel patterns of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity during encoding and retrieval of naturalistic video clips depicting everyday activities. Reinstatement of video-specific activity patterns was robust in posterior parietal and occipital areas previously implicated in event reinstatement. Theta-burst stimulation targeting the hippocampal network increased video-specific reinstatement of fMRI activity patterns in occipital cortex and improved memory accuracy relative to stimulation of a control out-of-network location. Furthermore, stimulation targeting the hippocampal network influenced the trial-by-trial relationship between hippocampal activity during encoding and later reinstatement in occipital cortex. These findings implicate the hippocampal network in the reinstatement of spatially distributed patterns of event-specific activity and identify a role for the hippocampus in encoding complex naturalistic events that later undergo cortical reinstatement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1428-1437.e5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 12 2021


  • TMS
  • episodic memory
  • fMRI
  • hippocampus
  • multi-voxel pattern analysis
  • naturalistic memory
  • reinstatement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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