Implicit memory for object locations depends on reactivation of encoding-related brain regions

Anna Manelis, Catherine Hanson, Stephen José Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study explored the correspondence between implicit memory and the reactivation of encoding-related brain regions. By using a classification method, we examined whether reactivation reflects only the similarities between study and test or voxels at the reactivated regions are diagnostic of facilitation in the implicit memory task. A simple detection task served as incidental encoding of object-location pairings. A subsequent visual search task served as the indirect (implicit) test of memory. Subjects did not know that their memory would be tested. Half of the subjects were unaware that some stimuli in the search task are the same as those that had appeared during the detection task. Another group of subjects was made aware of this relationship at the onset of the visual search task. Memory performance was superior for the study-test aware, compared to study-test unaware, subjects. Brain reactivation was calculated using a conjunction analysis implemented through overlaying the neural activity at encoding and testing. The conjunction analysis revealed that implicit memory in both groups of subjects was associated with reactivation of parietal and occipital brain regions. We were able to classify study-test aware and study-test unaware subjects based on the per-voxel reactivation values representing the neural dynamics between encoding and test. The classification results indicate that neural dynamics between encoding and test accounts for the differences in implicit memory. Overall, our study demonstrates that implicit memory performance requires and depends upon reactivation of encoding-related brain regions. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-50
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • FMRI
  • Implicit memory
  • Incidental learning
  • Object locations
  • Reactivation
  • SMLR classifier


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