, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 149-158

Beyond HERA: Contributions of specific prefrontal brain areas to long-term memory retrieval


Recent neuroimaging studies have provided a wealth of information about areas within prefrontal cortex involved in long-term memory. These studies prompted a proposal by Tulving and colleagues (Tulving, Kapur, Craik, Habib, & Houle, 1994) that prefrontal contributions to memory function are related to laterality differences (the hemispheric encoding/retrieval asymmetry model). This review goes beyond a general characterization of prefrontal lobes to a more specific analysis of distinct areas within the prefrontal cortex. Separate prefrontal areas, sometimes within the same hemisphere, are discussed in terms of selective contributions that they might make to memory retrieval. In the end, it is concluded that a framework which tries to understand prefrontal function in terms of specific areas is a useful complement to models, like HERA, which attempt to find unifying principles across multiple areas.

I thank Steve Petersen, Julie Fiez, Adina Roskies, and Susan Courtney for helpful comments on various versions of this manuscript and Dan Schacter, Roger Ratcliff, John Gabrieli, Henry Roediger, and an anonymous reviewer for thoughtful comments during the review process. Support was provided by NIH Grant NS32979 and grants from the Charles A. Dana Foundation and the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function. The present research was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery.