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A graded task approach to the functional mapping of brain areas implicated in auditory—verbal memory

P. Grasby, C. D. Frith, K. J. Friston, J. Simpson, P. C. Fletcher, R. S. J. Frackowiak, R. J. Dolan
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/117.6.1271 1271-1282 First published online: 1 December 1994


Positron emission tomography measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were performed in normal volunteers during a graded auditory-verbal memory task. Subjects were required to remember and then immediately, and freely, recall a series of auditorily presented word lists varying from two to 13 words in length. Significant regional correlations between rCBF and memory load (word list length) were identified using statistical parametric mapping. Increasing memory load correlated with increasing rCBF in the cerebellar vermis and hemispheres, thalamus bilaterally, the superior and middle frontal gyri bilaterally, anterior insular regions bilaterally, anterior cingulate, precuneus and left and right lateral premotor areas. Increasing memory load also correlated with decreasing rCBF in the left and right superior temporal/insular regions, medial frontal gyrus, Brodmann's area 37 bilaterally, cuneus, inferior parietal lobule bilaterally and the mid-portion of the cingulate cortex. The pattern of rCBF change closely resembled that identified in a previously reported study using a cognitive subtraction paradigm and provides further evidence for a widespread neural system subserving auditory-verbal memory. The patterns of rCBF response suggest that the areas identified are associated with limited capacity processes for encoding and retrieval

  • memory
  • PET
  • auditory–verbal
  • brain mapping