Episodic remembering critically relies on the generation retrieval plans, the elaborative processing of retrieval probes, the resolution of interference, and the monitoring of the sufficiency of memory with respect to decision criteria. Although prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the favored candidate for these mechanisms, regional and hemispheric localization for these mechanisms is unclear. Using a component-process model we will: (1) Determine whether left PFC is critically involved in formulating episodic retrieval plans. Recent research contrasting context and item memory have consistently identified left PFC and indicated that activity is not dependent on success, suggesting that it is the intent to retrieve contextual information that is critical. Here we intend to separate cue/question and probe dependent activity and determine whether these regions respond to non-verbalizable probes during contextually based retrieval demands. (2) Conduct Decision Theory based manipulations of memory decision criteria. By manipulating the number, location, and quality of decision criteria we will isolate PFC regions critical for implementing decision rules to memory content. (3) Investigate hemispheric asymmetries during episodic retrieval. Recent evidence suggests hemispheric asymmetries in PFC (particularly dorsal and polar) with left regions associated with contextually specific source attribution, and homologous right PFC regions showing relative increases during judgments of item recency or frequency, which are potentially based on global familiarity assessment. By directly contrasting recency, frequency, and context retrieval for matched materials within subjects, we will test whether the hemispheres are involved in fundamentally different aspects of memory retrieval, advancing beyond earlier constructs such as """"""""effort"""""""" or """"""""difficulty"""""""". Neurological changes during healthy aging and neurological disorders (e.g., Alzheimer's Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury) severely impact memory performance. However, because the control or decision processes regulating memory expression are poorly understood, behavioral impairments could often result from damage to systems that represent or store memory evidence, systems responsible for imposing decisions upon that content, or some combination of the 2. Determining how PFC regions normally regulate the translation of memory content into decisions or actions is therefore critical in understanding the memory performance decline in the above populations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Study Section (LAM)
Program Officer
Osborn, Bettina D
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Washington University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Saint Louis
United States
Zip Code
Selmeczy, Diana; Dobbins, Ian G (2014) Relating the content and confidence of recognition judgments. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 40:66-85
Dillon, Daniel G; Dobbins, Ian G; Pizzagalli, Diego A (2014) Weak reward source memory in depression reflects blunted activation of VTA/SN and parahippocampus. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 9:1576-83
Jaeger, Antonio; Konkel, Alex; Dobbins, Ian G (2013) Unexpected novelty and familiarity orienting responses in lateral parietal cortex during recognition judgment. Neuropsychologia 51:1061-76
Selmeczy, Diana; Dobbins, Ian G (2013) Metacognitive awareness and adaptive recognition biases. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 39:678-90
Dobbins, Ian G; Jaeger, Antonio; Studer, Bettina et al. (2012) Use of explicit memory cues following parietal lobe lesions. Neuropsychologia 50:2992-3003
Dew, Ilana T Z; Buchler, Norbou; Dobbins, Ian G et al. (2012) Where is ELSA? The early to late shift in aging. Cereb Cortex 22:2542-53
Jaeger, Antonio; Selmeczy, Diana; O'Connor, Akira R et al. (2012) Prefrontal cortex contributions to controlled memory judgment: fMRI evidence from adolescents and young adults. Neuropsychologia 50:3745-56
Jaeger, Antonio; Cox, Justin C; Dobbins, Ian G (2012) Recognition confidence under violated and confirmed memory expectations. J Exp Psychol Gen 141:282-301
Han, Sanghoon; O'Connor, Akira R; Eslick, Andrea N et al. (2012) The role of left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during episodic decisions: semantic elaboration or resolution of episodic interference? J Cogn Neurosci 24:223-34
O'Connor, Akira R; Guhl, Emily N; Cox, Justin C et al. (2011) Some Memories are Odder than Others: Judgments of Episodic Oddity Violate Known Decision Rules. J Mem Lang 64:299-315

Showing the most recent 10 out of 22 publications