Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society


Age Differences in Hippocampus-Cortex Connectivity during True and False Memory Retrieval

Pedro M. Paz-Alonsoa1a2 c1, Pamela Gallegoa2 and Simona Ghettia2a3

a1 Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), Donostia-San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain

a2 Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis, California

a3 Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California


The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated developmental differences in functional connectivity associated with true and false memory retrieval. A sample of 8- to 9-year-olds and adults (N = 31) was assessed with the Deese/Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm, known to induce high levels of false recognition of lures that are semantically associated with studied items. The strength of semantic association among list items was manipulated. Relative to children, adults correctly recognized more studied items and falsely recognized more critical lures. High-association lists resulted in higher recognition of both studied items and critical lures. Functional connectivity analysis revealed that, overall, true recognition was supported by coupling within two hippocampal-temporal and fronto-parietal set of regions; in contrast, coupling among more distributed hippocampal-temporal-parietal-frontal regions was observed during false recognition. Critically, adults, compared to children, exhibited stronger hippocampal/parietal coupling and stronger hippocampal/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) coupling for veridical recognition of high-associative strength items. In contrast, children, compared to adults, exhibited stronger hippocampus/ventrolateral PFC coupling and stronger bilateral middle-temporal gyrus/ventrolateral PFC coupling for high-associative strength critical lures. Our results underscored a role for the anterior hippocampus in true and false recognition, showing different functional patterns as a function of age and association strength. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–11)

(Received February 15 2013)

(Revised August 21 2013)

(Accepted August 22 2013)

(Online publication September 23 2013)


  • Episodic memory;
  • Recognition;
  • Hippocampus;
  • Middle-temporal gyrus;
  • Prefrontal cortex;
  • Functional connectivity


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Pedro M. Paz-Alonso, BCBL, Paseo Mikeletegi 69, 2, Donostia-San Sebastián, 20009, Gipuzkoa, Spain. E-mail: