Neural correlates of context memory with real-world events

Toshikatsu Fujii, Maki Suzuki, Jiro Okuda, Hiroya Ohtake, Kazuyo Tanji, Keiichiro Yamaguchi, Masatoshi Itoh, Atsushi Yamadori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


There has been little evidence for the difference in the retrieval processes of when and where something happened, one of the important factors in understanding episodic memory. We used positron emission tomography (PET) to identify the neural networks associated with temporal and spatial context memory of events experienced under experimental conditions similar to those of everyday life. Before PET, subjects experienced 36 events. The events were divided into four groups of nine each. The subjects experienced the first two groups of events before a 15-min recess and the other two after the recess; they experienced the first and last groups of events in one room, took a recess in another room, and experienced the second and third groups in a different room. During PET, the subjects were scanned under three different retrieval tasks: a time-retrieval task, a place-retrieval task, and a simple recognition task. The results showed that the retrieval of time and space, compared with the simple recognition, was associated with activity in substantially different regions as well as a common region: time retrieval with the posterior part of the right orbitofrontal cortex and left inferior parietal lobule, place retrieval with two regions in right parietal association cortex, right posterior cingulate gyrus, left precentral gyrus, and right cerebellum, and both with the right inferior frontal gyrus. These findings indicate that there are unique areas, in addition to a common area, for retrieving temporal and spatial context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1596-1603
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr


  • Context memory
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Real-world events


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