Attention is crucial for encoding information into memory, and current dual-process models seek to explain the roles of attention in both recollection memory and incidental-perceptual memory processes. The present study combined an incidental memory paradigm with event-related functional MRI to examine the effect of attention at encoding on the subsequent neural activation associated with unintended perceptual memory for spoken words. At encoding, we systematically varied attention levels as listeners heard a list of single English nouns. We then presented these words again in the context of a recognition task and assessed the effect of modulating attention at encoding on the BOLD responses to words that were either attended strongly, weakly, or not heard previously. MRI revealed activity in right-lateralized inferior parietal and prefrontal regions, and positive BOLD signals varied with the relative level of attention present at encoding. Temporal analysis of hemodynamic responses further showed that the time course of BOLD activity was modulated differentially by unintentionally encoded words compared to novel items. Our findings largely support current models of memory consolidation and retrieval, but they also provide fresh evidence for hemispheric differences and functional subdivisions in right frontoparietal attention networks that help shape auditory episodic recall.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging