The participation of medial temporal-lobe structures in memory performance was examined by functional magnetic resonance imaging of local blood oxygenation level-dependent signals. Signals were measured during encoding into memory complex scenes or line drawings and during retrieval from memory of previously studied line drawings or words. Encoding tasks yielded increased signals for unfamiliar information in a posterior medial- temporal region that were focused in the parahippocampal cortex. Retrieval tasks yielded increased signals for successfully remembered information in an anterior medial-temporal region that were focused in the subiculum. These results indicate that separate components of the human medial temporal-lobe memory system are active during distinct memory processes.
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