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Does remembering where you have been, helps remembering what you have done? The shared neuro-cognitive basis between spatial and episodic memory

By E. Saliasi


Episodic memory and spatial memory are supported by a well established neural network consisting of the prefrontal cortex, middle temporal lobes and parietal lobe. Recently it has been suggested that the two cognitive systems may be also interconnected in a functional level. In fact, one of the most defining features of episodic memory is the retrieval of spatial context information in vivid detail. An association between episodic memory and the two main frames of spatial navigation is proposed. On one hand, episodic memory is thought to have a stronger link with allocentric representation. This assumption offers an evolutionary perspective on how the ability to maintain complex spatial representations of the outside world could also have driven the emergence of our ability to keep track of personal events in memory. In more detail, the hippocampus in humans may have granted the basis to episodic memory through the integration of the verbal component and the linear sense of time to the allocentric framework. On the other hand, episodic retrieval depends on the ability to (re) imagine spatial scenes. The accent here is on the egocentric processing which possesses a strictly personal element. However, both frameworks may fall short in accommodating the demands of a complex episodic memory system. Therefore, we suggest that the strength of the link between either allocentric- or egocentric representation with episodic memory may be dependent on the retrieval demands

Topics: Geneeskunde, Episodic memory, Spatial memory, Allocentric processing, Egocentric processing, Hippocampus, Parietal cortex, Prefrontal cortex
Year: 2009
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