Memory encoding and memory retrieval are neurally distinct brain states that can be differentiated on the basis of cortical network activity. However, it is unclear whether sustained engagement of one network or fluctuations between multiple networks give rise to these memory states. The spatiotemporal dynamics of memory states may have important implications for memory behavior and cognition; however, measuring temporally resolved signals of cortical networks poses a challenge. Here, we recorded scalp electroencephalography from participants performing a mnemonic state task in which they were biased toward memory encoding or retrieval. We performed a microstate analysis to measure the temporal dynamics of cortical networks throughout this mnemonic state task. We find that Microstate E, a putative analog of the default mode network, shows temporally sustained dissociations between memory encoding and retrieval, with greater engagement during retrieve compared with encode trials. We further show that decreased engagement of Microstate E is a general property of encoding, rather than a reflection of retrieval suppression. Thus, memory success, as well as cognition more broadly, may be influenced by the ability to engage or disengage Microstate E in a goal-dependent manner.

You do not currently have access to this content.