The anterior hippocampus is associated with spatial memory encoding


There are many hypotheses regarding specialization of the anterior versus posterior hippocampus including memory encoding versus retrieval and other cognitive processes versus spatial memory. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we distinguished between the hypothesis linking encoding to the anterior hippocampus and the hypothesis linking spatial memory to the posterior hippocampus by evaluating whether spatial memory encoding involved the anterior hippocampus or the posterior hippocampus. During encoding, participants viewed abstract shapes in each of four visual field quadrants while instructed to maintain central fixation. During retrieval, old shapes were presented at fixation and participants identified the previous quadrant of each shape. A general linear model analysis did not reveal encoding activations in the anterior or posterior hippocampus. These results motivated a multi-voxel pattern analysis to assess whether there were distinct patterns of activity associated with encoding shapes in each quadrant within the anterior or posterior hippocampus. For each participant, patterns of activity associated with each quadrant were split by run (i.e., odd runs versus even runs) and the patterns in half the data were used to classify patterns in the other half of the data. Classification accuracy for items at encoding, collapsed over subsequent accuracy, was significantly above chance in the anterior but not posterior hippocampus. The present findings indicate that spatial memory encoding is associated with patterns of activity in the anterior hippocampus.



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Brain Research



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