Medial temporal lobe contributions to cued retrieval of items and contexts

Deborah E. Hannula, Laura A. Libby, Andrew P. Yonelinas, Charan Ranganath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Several models have proposed that different regions of the medial temporal lobes contribute to different aspects of episodic memory. For instance, according to one view, the perirhinal cortex represents specific items, parahippocampal cortex represents information regarding the context in which these items were encountered, and the hippocampus represents item-context bindings. Here, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test a specific prediction of this model-namely, that successful retrieval of items from context cues will elicit perirhinal recruitment and that successful retrieval of contexts from item cues will elicit parahippocampal cortex recruitment. Retrieval of the bound representation in either case was expected to elicit hippocampal engagement. To test these predictions, we had participants study several item-context pairs (i.e., pictures of objects and scenes, respectively), and then had them attempt to recall items from associated context cues and contexts from associated item cues during a scanned retrieval session. Results based on both univariate and multivariate analyses confirmed a role for hippocampus in content-general relational memory retrieval, and a role for parahippocampal cortex in successful retrieval of contexts from item cues. However, we also found that activity differences in perirhinal cortex were correlated with successful cued recall for both items and contexts. These findings provide partial support for the above predictions and are discussed with respect to several models of medial temporal lobe function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2322-2332
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Episodic memory
  • Hippocampus
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Parahippocampal cortex
  • Perirhinal cortex
  • Retrieval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Medial temporal lobe contributions to cued retrieval of items and contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this