The role of the prefrontal cortex in episodic memory. Die Rolle des praefrontalen Kortex beim episodischen Gedaechtnis.
Summarizes the role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in episodic memory. The dorsolateral PFC is shown to primarily be involved in the monitoring of encoding and retrieval processes. Findings are presented which show that activation of the ventrolateral PFC is associated with strategic retrieval, information selection, and content verification. The main function of this area of the PFC appears to be the triggering of autobiographical-memory retrieval via synchronization of the emotional and factual elements of a person's past. The ventromedial PFC is crucially involved in integrating the emotional tone of memories, although the exact role of the ventromedial and the medial orbitofrontal PFC is yet to be clarified. The dorsomedial region of the PFC is activated in general self-referential processing which is inextricably linked with episodic memory. The role of the PFC in autobiographical memory disorders is subsequently discussed based on patients with organic and dissociative amnesia. It is concluded that the various regions of the PFC play a key role in encoding and retrieving episodic memories.
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