Similar patterns of neural activity predict memory function during encoding and retrieval

James E. Kragel, Youssef Ezzyat, Michael R. Sperling, Richard Gorniak, Gregory A. Worrell, Brent M. Berry, Cory Inman, Jui Jui Lin, Kathryn A. Davis, Sandhitsu R. Das, Joel M. Stein, Barbara C. Jobst, Kareem A. Zaghloul, Sameer A. Sheth, Daniel S. Rizzuto, Michael J. Kahana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Neural networks that span the medial temporal lobe (MTL), prefrontal cortex, and posterior cortical regions are essential to episodic memory function in humans. Encoding and retrieval are supported by the engagement of both distinct neural pathways across the cortex and common structures within the medial temporal lobes. However, the degree to which memory performance can be determined by neural processing that is common to encoding and retrieval remains to be determined. To identify neural signatures of successful memory function, we administered a delayed free-recall task to 187 neurosurgical patients implanted with subdural or intraparenchymal depth electrodes. We developed multivariate classifiers to identify patterns of spectral power across the brain that independently predicted successful episodic encoding and retrieval. During encoding and retrieval, patterns of increased high frequency activity in prefrontal, MTL, and inferior parietal cortices, accompanied by widespread decreases in low frequency power across the brain predicted successful memory function. Using a cross-decoding approach, we demonstrate the ability to predict memory function across distinct phases of the free-recall task. Furthermore, we demonstrate that classifiers that combine information from both encoding and retrieval states can outperform task-independent models. These findings suggest that the engagement of a core memory network during either encoding or retrieval shapes the ability to remember the past, despite distinct neural interactions that facilitate encoding and retrieval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jul 15 2017


  • Episodic memory
  • Free recall
  • MVPA
  • iEEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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