Cortical midline involvement in autobiographical memory.
1188 - 1200.
Recollecting autobiographical memories of personal past experiences is an integral part of our everyday lives and relies on a distributed set of brain regions. Their occurrence externally in the real world ('realness') and their self-relevance ('selfness') are two de. ning features of these autobiographical events. Distinguishing between personally experienced events and those that happened to other individuals, and between events that really occurred and those that were mere figments of the imagination, is clearly advantageous, yet the respective neural correlates remain unclear. Here we experimentally manipulated and dissociated realness and selfness during fMRI using a novel paradigm where participants recalled self (autobiographical) and non-self (from a movie or television news clips) events that were either real or previously imagined. Distinct sub-regions within dorsal and ventral medial prefrontal cortex, retrosplenial cortex and along the parieto-occipital sulcus preferentially coded for events (real or imagined) involving the self. By contrast, recollection of autobiographical events that really happened in the external world activated different areas within ventromedial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex. In addition, recall of externally experienced real events (self or non-self) was associated with increased activity in areas of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex. Taken together our results permitted a functional deconstruction of anterior (medial prefrontal) and posterior (retrosplenial cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus) cortical midline regions widely associated with autobiographical memory but whose roles have hitherto been poorly understood. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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