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The neural dynamics of novel scene imagery

Barry, DN; Barnes, GR; Clark, IA; Maguire, EA; (2019) The neural dynamics of novel scene imagery. The Journal of Neuroscience , 39 (22) pp. 4375-4386. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2497-18.2019. Green open access

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Abstract

Retrieval of long-term episodic memories is characterised by synchronised neural activity between hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), with additional evidence that vmPFC activity leads that of the hippocampus. It has been proposed that the mental generation of scene imagery is a crucial component of episodic memory processing. If this is the case, then a comparable interaction between the two brain regions should exist during the construction of novel scene imagery. To address this question, we leveraged the high temporal resolution of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate the construction of novel mental imagery. We tasked male and female humans with imagining scenes and single isolated objects in response to one-word cues. We performed source level power, coherence and causality analyses to characterise the underlying inter-regional interactions. Both scene and object imagination resulted in theta power changes in the anterior hippocampus. However, higher theta coherence was observed between the hippocampus and vmPFC in the scene compared to the object condition. This inter-regional theta coherence also predicted whether or not imagined scenes were subsequently remembered. Dynamic causal modelling of this interaction revealed that vmPFC drove activity in hippocampus during novel scene construction. Additionally, theta power changes in the vmPFC preceded those observed in the hippocampus. These results constitute the first evidence in humans that episodic memory retrieval and scene imagination rely on similar vmPFC-hippocampus neural dynamics. Furthermore, they provide support for theories emphasising similarities between both cognitive processes, and perspectives that propose the vmPFC guides the construction of context-relevant representations in the hippocampus.

Type: Article
Title: The neural dynamics of novel scene imagery
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2497-18.2019
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2497-18.2019
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2019 Barry et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in anymedium providedthatthe original work is properly attributed.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071013
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