The temporally graded memory impairment seen in many neurobehavioral disorders implies different neuroanatomical pathways and/or cognitive mechanisms involved in storage and retrieval of memories of different ages. A dynamic interaction between medial-temporal and neocortical brain regions has been proposed to account for memory’s greater permanence with time. Despite considerable debate concerning its time-dependent role in memory retrieval, medial-temporal lobe activity has been well studied. However, the relative participation of neocortical regions in recent and remote memory retrieval has received much less attention. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we demonstrate robust, temporally graded signal differences in posterior cingulate, right middle frontal, right fusiform, and left middle temporal regions in healthy older adults during famous name identification from two disparate time epochs. Importantly, no neocortical regions demonstrated greater response to older than to recent stimuli. Our results suggest a possible role of these neocortical regions in temporally dating items in memory and in establishing and maintaining memory traces throughout the lifespan. Theoretical implications of these findings for the two dominant models of remote memory functioning (Consolidation Theory and Multiple Trace Theory) are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kristy_nielson/4/