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The Neural Basis of Aware and Unaware Forms of Memory
19 March 2008 (online)
Information regarding the nature of phenomenal awareness in memory comes from a direct comparison of explicit and implicit memory tasks. Explicit memory tasks require conscious awareness of a prior episode, whereas implicit memory tasks do not. This paper reviews evidence regarding the neural basis of aware and unaware forms of memory as obtained from patient studies and functional neuroimaging work. These studies suggest the existence of a memory system centered in the medial temporal and frontal lobes that is dedicated to the storage and retrieval of episodes and several neocortical memory systems that are dedicated to the processing and representation of perceptual and semantic information. Different hypotheses are discussed as to how the phenomenal awareness that accompanies episodic memories may arise within the hippocampal-frontal memory system. These views have in common the notion that various forms of information need to be bound together to be retrievable as an aware memory, and that the hippocampus is critical to this binding function.
explicit memory - implicit memory - awareness - priming - amnesia - memory systems - hippocampus