Functional magnetic resonance imaging of semantic memory processes in the frontal lobes

John D.E. Gabrieli, John E. Desmond, Jonathan B. Demb, Anthony D. Wagner, Maria V. Stone, Chandan J. Vaidya, Gary H. Glover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Scopus citations


Frontal-lobe activation during semantic memory performance was examined using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a noninvasive technique for localizing neural activity associated with cognitive function. Left inferior prefrontal cortex was more activated for semantic than for perceptual encoding of words, and for initial than for repeated semantic encoding of words. Decreased activation for semantic encoding of repeated words reflects repetition priming, that is, implicit retrieval of memory gained in the initial semantic encoding of a word. The left inferior prefrontal region may subserve semantic working memory processes that participate in semantic encoding and that have decreased demands when such encoding can be facilitated by recent semantic experience. These results demonstrate that fMRI can visualize changes in an individual's brain function associated with the encoding and retrieval of new memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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