Memory can profoundly influence new learning, presumably because memory optimizes exploration of to-be-learned material. Although hippocampus and frontoparietal networks have been implicated in memory-guided exploration, their specific and interactive roles have not been identified. We examined eye movements during fMRI scanning to identify neural correlates of the influences of memory retrieval on exploration and learning. After retrieval of one object in a multiobject array, viewing was strategically directed away from the retrieved object toward nonretrieved objects, such that exploration was directed toward to-be-learned content. Retrieved objects later served as optimal reminder cues, indicating that exploration caused memory to become structured around the retrieved content. Hippocampal activity was associated with memory retrieval, whereas frontoparietal activity varied with strategic viewing patterns deployed after retrieval, thus providing spatiotemporal dissociation of memory retrieval from memory-guided learning strategies. Time-lagged fMRI connectivity analyses indicated that hippocampal activity predicted frontoparietal activity to a greater extent for a condition in which retrieval guided exploration occurred than for a passive control condition in which exploration was not influenced by retrieval. This demonstrates network-level interaction effects specific to influences of memory on strategic exploration. These findings show how memory guides behavior during learning and demonstrate distinct yet interactive hippocampal–frontoparietal roles in implementing strategic exploration behaviors that determine the fate of evolving memory representations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience