Remembering episodes: A selective role for the hippocampus during retrieval

Laura L. Eldridge, Barbara J. Knowlton, Christopher S. Furmanski, Susan Y. Bookheimer, Stephen A. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

753 Scopus citations


Some memories are linked to a specific time and place, allowing one to re-experience the original event, whereas others are accompanied only by a feeling of familiarity. To uncover the distinct neural bases for these two types of memory, we measured brain activity during memory retrieval using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. We show that activity in the hippocampus increased only when retrieval was accompanied by conscious recollection of the learning episode. Hippocampal activity did not increase for items recognized based on familiarity or for unrecognized items. These results indicate that the hippocampus selectively supports the retrieval of episodic memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1152
Number of pages4
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank M. Cohen, M. Fanselow, J. Mazziotta and L. Squire for comments on the manuscript and A. Toga for computational resources. This work was supported by the Brain Mapping Medical Organization, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Pierson-Lovelace Foundation, the Tamkin Foundation and the Jennifer Jones-Simon Foundation. L.L.E. was funded by a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship.


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