The role of the right anterior prefrontal cortex in episodic retrieval

K Allan, R J Dolan, P C Fletcher, M D Rugg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Regional brain activity was measured with H-2 O-15 PET while participants attempted to complete word-stem and word-fragment retrieval cues with previously studied words. The retrieval cue manipulation was employed to gain control over the monitoring operations associated with evaluating the episodic status of alternative cue completions, These operations were more constrained for fragments, which had fewer possible completions than each corresponding stem. In one condition (zero target), during the scanning interval none of the cues could be completed with studied items, whereas in another condition (high target), 80% of cues belonged to studied items. Relative to baseline tasks, right anterior prefrontal activity was greater for stems than for fragments in the zero target condition. The target density manipulation did not modulate right anterior prefrontal activity, but was associated with increased activity in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These findings are consistent with the proposal that the right anterior prefrontal cortex supports monitoring operations during episodic retrieval tasks. In addition, the findings add to evidence suggesting that the dorsolateral and anterior right prefrontal cortex make functionally distinct contributions to episodic retrieval. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


  • positron emission tomography
  • memory retrieval
  • recognition memory
  • brain
  • activation
  • explicit
  • imagery
  • humans


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