The overarching goal of the proposed research is to understand, from a cognitive neuroscience perspective, how information about an event is successfully encoded into episodic memory. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will be employed to identify neural activity elicited during the successful encoding of experimental items such as words and pictures and their associations either with other items (item-item encoding), or with one or more contextual features (item-context encoding). The theoretical perspective guiding the proposed research derives from the proposals that an episodic memory is represented in terms of the processing engaged by an event as it is experienced, and that successful episodic encoding requires that the various features constituting an event are 'bound'or integrated into a cohesive memory representation. Guided by this perspective, experiments will address the roles of the cerebral cortex and the medial temporal lobe in the 'binding'of within- versus across- modality item-context and item-item associations. Other experiments will investigate the neural correlates of the formation of within- and across-modality associations between different contextual features. Another experiment will investigate the neural correlates of the formation of temporal associations between items presented at different times. In a second strand of the research, the focus will be on neural activity that appears to play a 'permissive'role in episodic encoding, rather than supporting processes engaged by a specific study task. Experiments will be conducted to elucidate i) the functional significance of the relative attenuation of neural activity elicited in some cortical regions by study items that are remembered rather than forgotten on a later memory test, and ii) modulations of pre-stimulus activity that also are predictive of later memory performance. Disabling impairments of episodic memory are prominent in several common neurological conditions, notably Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury. Episodic memory dysfunction is also a significant component of several common psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, episodic memory declines substantially and, relative to other kinds of memory, disproportionately, with increasing age. The proposed research will contribute to the detailed understanding of the neurocognitive processes that support normally-functioning episodic memory, an understanding that is necessary for the elucidation of different kinds of episodic memory disorders and the development of effective therapeutic interventions.

Public Health Relevance

Disabling impairments of episodic memory - memory for unique events - are found in numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions. The proposed research will contribute to the detailed understanding of normally-functioning episodic memory that is necessary if different kinds of episodic memory disorders are to be fully understood and effectively treated.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-L (02))
Program Officer
Osborn, Bettina D
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas-Dallas
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Koen, Joshua D; Thakral, Preston P; Rugg, Michael D (2018) Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the left angular gyrus during encoding does not impair associative memory performance. Cogn Neurosci 9:127-138
Koen, Joshua D; Rugg, Michael D (2016) Memory Reactivation Predicts Resistance to Retroactive Interference: Evidence from Multivariate Classification and Pattern Similarity Analyses. J Neurosci 36:4389-99
de Chastelaine, Marianne; Rugg, Michael D (2015) The effects of study task on prestimulus subsequent memory effects in the hippocampus. Hippocampus 25:1217-23
Addante, Richard James; de Chastelaine, Marianne; Rugg, Michael D (2015) Pre-stimulus neural activity predicts successful encoding of inter-item associations. Neuroimage 105:21-31
Mattson, Julia T; Wang, Tracy H; de Chastelaine, Marianne et al. (2014) Effects of age on negative subsequent memory effects associated with the encoding of item and item-context information. Cereb Cortex 24:3322-33
de Chastelaine, Marianne; Rugg, Michael D (2014) The relationship between task-related and subsequent memory effects. Hum Brain Mapp 35:3687-700
Wong, Jenny X; de Chastelaine, Marianne; Rugg, Michael D (2013) Comparison of the neural correlates of encoding item-item and item-context associations. Front Hum Neurosci 7:436
Rugg, Michael D; Vilberg, Kaia L; Mattson, Julia T et al. (2012) Item memory, context memory and the hippocampus: fMRI evidence. Neuropsychologia 50:3070-9
Gottlieb, Lauren J; Wong, Jenny; de Chastelaine, Marianne et al. (2012) Neural correlates of the encoding of multimodal contextual features. Learn Mem 19:605-14
Park, Heekyeong; Rugg, Michael D (2011) Neural correlates of encoding within- and across-domain inter-item associations. J Cogn Neurosci 23:2533-43

Showing the most recent 10 out of 21 publications