Familiarity and conceptual priming engage distinct cortical networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Familiarity refers to an explicit recognition experience without any necessary retrieval of specific detail related to the episode during which initial learning transpired. Prior experience can also implicitly influence subsequent processing through a memory phenomenon termed conceptual priming, which occurs without explicit awareness of recognition. Resolving current theoretical controversy on relationships between familiarity and conceptual priming requires a clarification of their neural substrates. Accordingly, we obtained functional magnetic resonance images in a novel paradigm for separately assessing neural correlates of familiarity and conceptual priming using famous and nonfamous faces. Conceptual priming, as shown by more accurate behavioral responses to strongly conceptually primed than to weakly conceptually primed faces, was associated with activity reductions in left prefrontal cortex, whereas familiarity was associated with activity enhancements in right parietal cortex for more-familiar compared with less-familiar faces. This neuroimaging evidence implicates separate neurocognitive processes operative in explicit stimulus recognition versus implicit conceptual priming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1712-1719
Number of pages8
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Explicit memory
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Implicit memory
  • Memory systems
  • Neuroimaging
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Familiarity and conceptual priming engage distinct cortical networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this