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      The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future.

      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
      Alzheimer Disease, psychology, Amnesia, physiopathology, Brain, physiology, Cognition, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Mental Recall, Neurosciences, methods, Positron-Emission Tomography

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          Abstract

          Episodic memory is widely conceived as a fundamentally constructive, rather than reproductive, process that is prone to various kinds of errors and illusions. With a view towards examining the functions served by a constructive episodic memory system, we consider recent neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies indicating that some types of memory distortions reflect the operation of adaptive processes. An important function of a constructive episodic memory is to allow individuals to simulate or imagine future episodes, happenings and scenarios. Since the future is not an exact repetition of the past, simulation of future episodes requires a system that can draw on the past in a manner that flexibly extracts and recombines elements of previous experiences. Consistent with this constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, we consider cognitive, neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence showing that there is considerable overlap in the psychological and neural processes involved in remembering the past and imagining the future.

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          Most cited references91

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          Episodic memory: from mind to brain.

          Episodic memory is a neurocognitive (brain/mind) system, uniquely different from other memory systems, that enables human beings to remember past experiences. The notion of episodic memory was first proposed some 30 years ago. At that time it was defined in terms of materials and tasks. It was subsequently refined and elaborated in terms of ideas such as self, subjective time, and autonoetic consciousness. This chapter provides a brief history of the concept of episodic memory, describes how it has changed (indeed greatly changed) since its inception, considers criticisms of it, and then discusses supporting evidence provided by (a) neuropsychological studies of patterns of memory impairment caused by brain damage, and (b) functional neuroimaging studies of patterns of brain activity of normal subjects engaged in various memory tasks. I also suggest that episodic memory is a true, even if as yet generally unappreciated, marvel of nature.
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            Memory and consciousness.

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              The medial temporal lobe.

              The medial temporal lobe includes a system of anatomically related structures that are essential for declarative memory (conscious memory for facts and events). The system consists of the hippocampal region (CA fields, dentate gyrus, and subicular complex) and the adjacent perirhinal, entorhinal, and parahippocampal cortices. Here, we review findings from humans, monkeys, and rodents that illuminate the function of these structures. Our analysis draws on studies of human memory impairment and animal models of memory impairment, as well as neurophysiological and neuroimaging data, to show that this system (a) is principally concerned with memory, (b) operates with neocortex to establish and maintain long-term memory, and (c) ultimately, through a process of consolidation, becomes independent of long-term memory, though questions remain about the role of perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices in this process and about spatial memory in rodents. Data from neurophysiology, neuroimaging, and neuroanatomy point to a division of labor within the medial temporal lobe. However, the available data do not support simple dichotomies between the functions of the hippocampus and the adjacent medial temporal cortex, such as associative versus nonassociative memory, episodic versus semantic memory, and recollection versus familiarity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                17395575
                2429996
                10.1098/rstb.2007.2087

                Chemistry
                Alzheimer Disease,psychology,Amnesia,physiopathology,Brain,physiology,Cognition,Magnetic Resonance Imaging,Mental Recall,Neurosciences,methods,Positron-Emission Tomography

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