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This article is the authors’ final published version in Nature Communications, Volume 12, Issue 1, July 2021, Article number 4444.

The published version is available at Copyright © Kragel et al.


Episodic recall depends upon the reinstatement of cortical activity present during the formation of a memory. Evidence from functional neuroimaging and invasive recordings in humans suggest that reinstatement organizes our memories by time or content, yet the neural systems involved in reinstating these unique types of information remain unclear. Here, combining computational modeling and intracranial recordings from 69 epilepsy patients, we show that two cortical systems uniquely reinstate the semantic content and temporal context of previously studied items during free recall. Examining either the posterior medial or anterior temporal networks, we find that forward encoding models trained on the brain's response to the temporal and semantic attributes of items can predict the serial position and semantic category of unseen items. During memory recall, these models uniquely link reinstatement of temporal context and semantic content to these posterior and anterior networks, respectively. These findings demonstrate how specialized cortical systems enable the human brain to target specific memories.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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