Neural Correlates of Temporal Context Processing

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Virginia Tech


Temporal context memory is a type of episodic memory that refers to memory for the timing of events. Temporal context includes environmental cues that provide information about the time point at which an event happened. The purpose of the present studies is to investigate the brain mechanisms underlying temporal context processing by using both fMRI and ERP techniques. The fMRI study investigated whether hippocampal representations in CA1 and DG/CA3 subfields were sensitive to the flow of physical time, and if so, whether the number of events that occur during a time period influences the temporal representation of a target event. Results showed that both CA1 and DG/CA3 were sensitive to the flow of physical time, which was indicated by higher representational similarity between two pictures that occurred closer in time than those that occurred more distant in time. However, the variety of preceding events did not influence temporal representation, which was demonstrated by the lack of a significant representational similarity difference between two pictures that were interleaved with variable events as opposed to similar events. The ERP study compared the ERP correlates of temporal to spatial context. Results showed that temporal and spatial contexts had overlapping ERP effects except that the ERP effects of temporal context were more frontally distributed than spatial context. Both the fMRI and ERP studies indicate that temporal context is associated with similar neural correlates to other types of context in episodic memory.



temporal context, hippocampal subfields, ERP correlates