Recall of a studied item and retrieval of its encoding context (source memory) both depend on recollection of qualitative information about the study episode. This study investigated whether recall and source memory engage overlapping neural regions. Participants (n = 18) studied a series of words, which were presented either to the left or right of fixation. fMRI data were collected during a subsequent test phase in which three-letter word-stems were presented, two thirds of which could be completed by a study item. Instructions were to use each stem as a cue to recall a studied word and, when recall was successful, to indicate the word's study location. When recall failed, the stem was to be completed with the first word to come to mind. Relative to stems for which recall failed, word-stems eliciting successful recall were associated with enhanced activity in a variety of cortical regions, including bilateral parietal, posterior midline, and parahippocampal cortex. Activity in these regions was enhanced when recall was accompanied by successful rather than unsuccessful source retrieval. It is proposed that the regions form part of a “recollection network” in which activity is graded according to the amount of information retrieved about a study episode.

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