Imaging systems level consolidation of novel associate memories: A longitudinal neuroimaging study

Jason F. Smith, Gene E. Alexander, Kewei Chen, Fatima T. Husain, Jieun Kim, Nathan Pajor, Barry Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previously, a standard theory of systems level memory consolidation was developed to describe how memory recall becomes independent of themedial temporal memory system. More recently, an extended consolidation theory was proposed that predicts seven changes in regional neural activity and inter-regional functional connectivity. Using longitudinal event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging of an associate memory task, we simultaneously tested all predictions and additionally tested for consolidation-related changes in recall of associate memories at a sub-trial temporal resolution, analyzing cue, delay and target periods of each trial separately. Results consistent with the theoretical predictions were observed though two inconsistent results were also obtained. In particular, while medial temporal recall related delay period activity decreased with consolidation as predicted, visual cue activity increased for consolidated memories. Though the extended theory of memory consolidation is largely supported by our study, these results suggest that the extended theory needs further refinement and the medial temporal memory system has multiple, temporally distinct roles in associate memory recall. Neuroimaging analysis at a sub-trial temporal resolution, as used here, may further clarify the role of the hippocampal complex in memory consolidation. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-836
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Consolidation
  • Long-term memory
  • Memory
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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