Poster A124, Saturday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Neural Correlates for Trait Memory Differences
Marc N Coutanche1, Griffin Koch1; 1University of Pittsburgh
Humans draw on an array of neural systems in the course of learning (and later remembering) the broad range of information encountered every day. Although healthy humans all have access to the same sets of brain systems, there is evidence that people differ in the extent to which they draw on one type of memory versus another. Some individuals tend to emphasize the factual components of past events (semantic), while others are more biased to forming memories that are rich in spatiotemporal and contextual features (episodic). The current study investigated the neural basis for trait differences in the relative use of semantic, episodic and spatial memory systems, across individuals. We scanned the brains of 20 participants using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and related the volume of key brain regions and systems to scores on a survey of autobiographical memory, which quantifies self-reported episodic, semantic, and spatial memory usage. We have found that brain regions associated with different memory systems differ in relative volume across individuals in ways that systematically track individual variation in trait memory biases. Our findings include the result that individuals with stronger semantic memory characteristics have a larger percentage of cortical gray matter occupied by the temporal poles and right angular gyrus. These anatomical findings contribute additional evidence to identifying the anterior temporal lobes and angular gyrus as "semantic hubs". More generally, this study provides evidence that anatomical brain differences have a relationship with an individual’s memory characteristics.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Semantic