Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare directly episodic encoding and retrieval. During encoding, subjects studied visually presented words and reported via keypress whether each word represented a pleasant or unpleasant concept (intentional, deep encoding). During the retrieval phase, subjects indicated (via keypress) whether visually presented words had previously been studied. No reliable differences were found during the recognition phase for words that had been previously studied and those that had not been studied. Areas preferentially active during encoding (relative to retrieval) included left superior frontal cortex, medial frontal cortex, left superior temporal cortex, posterior cingulate, left parahippocampal gyrus, and left inferior frontal gyrus. Regions more active in retrieval than encoding included bilateral inferior parietal cortex, bilateral precuneus, right frontal polar cortex, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and right inferior frontal/insular cortex.
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