Abstract

What is the neural basis of individual differences in the ability to hold information in long-term memory (LTM)? Here, we first characterize two whole-brain functional connectivity networks based on fMRI data acquired during an n-back task that robustly predict individual differences in two important forms of LTM, recognition and recollection. We then focus on the recognition memory model and contrast it with a working memory model. Although functional connectivity during the n-back task also predicts working memory performance and the two networks have some shared components, they are also largely distinct from each other: The recognition memory model performance remains robust when we control for working memory, and vice versa. Functional connectivity only within regions traditionally associated with LTM formation, such as the medial temporal lobe and those that show univariate subsequent memory effect, have little predictive power for both forms of LTM. Interestingly, the interactions between these regions and other brain regions play a more substantial role in predicting recollection memory than recognition memory. These results demonstrate that individual differences in LTM are dependent on the configuration of a whole-brain functional network including but not limited to regions associated with LTM during encoding and that such a network is separable from what supports the retention of information in working memory.

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